Most young children are put to bed using a nightlight or light show of some description. A night light is often used when coping with a young baby, or a messy toddler or even a pre-schooler. Keeping the light on helps to avoid standing on painful nappy pins or any toys lying around. When a child is older and getting used to sleeping on his own, parents use these cute lights under the assumption that they will lull the child into a gentle slumber. However the chances are high that the night lights are in fact keeping the little ones awake long into the night, especially if the night lights are left on overnight.
This mistake is perpetuated by thousands of nursery product manufacturers around the world. A quick search on the internet using the term ‘child nightlight’ returns over five thousand results, yet almost all of them have the ability to disturb a child’s sleep. Why? Simple, the night lights are emitting blue light.
Most night lights use white, blue or green hues, which are normally seen as soothing, however even if the light is dim, it will inhibit the secretion of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. In a world unpolluted by electric lights the secretion of melatonin in children would likely occur at dusk. Melatonin is necessary for children to not only go to sleep initially, but stay asleep for longer overnight. White and blue based light, which covers almost all forms of lighting used in the home, inhibit the body’s secretion of melatonin by tricking the brain into believing it is still daylight. It isn’t just lighting in the child’s bedroom that makes a difference though. The light emitted from screens, including televisions, laptops, tablets and smart phones can also cause problems, no matter how appropriate and child friendly the game or programme.
A few tips for Top Tips for sleep for the little ones:
- No screen exposure for two hours before bedtime.
- Light bathrooms with waterproof battery operated red or orange hue lights.
- Dim lighting in living areas in the evening and close curtains and blinds at 6pm.
- Naps should always happen in daylight. Ditch the blackout blinds for naps, they confuse the body’s biological clock and can cause trouble with night time sleep.
- Tape over lights on baby monitors that are white green or blue.
These tips are great for all ages. However if a night light is really necessary, you can use SleepSpec’s Night Light. It provides just enough light and being aware of the danger of blue light it has been designed so as not to disrupt or disturb sleep.
You can find the night light here.