Just like you might find it hard to sleep in a construction zone, your baby has preferences about her or his sleeping environment. The problem is they can’t articulate their needs quite yet. Luckily sleep experts have been able to determine some common causes of distraction for babies. Our readers have submitted some of them. Keep reading to find out what you need to remove from your baby’s sleeping area tonight.
Christine Brown, Founder and Chief Sleep & Behavior Consultant at Bella Luna Family.
Top Four Distractions that keep Babies from Sleeping
1. Light-up Toys. Toys that attach to the crib and light up, like mobiles, aquariums, or projectors, will distract babies from sleeping. The light can make it difficult for babies to fall asleep and stay asleep.
2. Lights. Whether it is a light that is on a baby monitor, a nightlight (babies don’t need them!), or sunlight coming in through the windows, these can all distract a baby from snoozing. I recommend that your baby’s room is pitch black with blackout shades and curtains. Make sure that all light sources are either covered or removed from the sleep space.
3. Music. It would seem like having lullabies playing would be soothing for babies, but lullabies can keep the brain active and make it harder for babies to fall asleep and stay asleep. I recommend investing in a sound machine that has a white noise option and then using white noise continuously for all sleep.
4. Siblings/Animals. If your baby has older siblings or your family has animals, these can both distract babies from sleeping. If there is anything more fun to do, babies will often choose these activities over sleeping. The sleeping space should be very boring!
Avoid Mobiles and Bright Colors
A mobile above the crib sounds like a fun idea, however, it often keeps the baby from settling into sleep. The music and slow rotation of the mobile are entertaining for babies and not as relaxing as we adults like to think.
Bright, contrasting colors stimulate the brain, so avoid wall decals and artwork around the baby’s sleep space as they aren’t conducive to sleep. Instead, aim for solid, neutral colors. It’s not exciting, but it won’t keep the baby awake.
Four Main Sleep Distractions
If babies are co-sleeping, oftentimes if they are roused from sleep and see a bottle or mom’s boob, they will go for it, as it’s their favorite meal. I mean hey, if you saw a plate of your favorite food when you were trying to sleep, you’d probably forego sleep and go for the pasta, right?
Unnecessary Lights in the Baby’s Room
These can be well-intentioned projectors that project pretty moons and stars on the ceiling, or things like vaporizers, etc.
Too Many Things in the Crib
If there are all kinds of stuffies and toys in the crib, the baby will just have a party in there because there are plenty of things to do.
If a parent wants a baby to sleep in a public area, things like TVs, tablets, and phones can be very distracting and will stop the baby from falling asleep.
Lights and Sounds
Newborn parents may be tempted to decorate their baby’s room and crib with all kinds of accessories like stuffed toys and soft blankets. While these may be cute to look at, they could potentially distract your baby from sleeping, or worse, lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Here are some examples of objects that could distract your baby from sleeping:
- Night Lights. Artificial lighting, in general, can disrupt your baby’s internal clock and stop them from resting properly.
- Songs for Kids. While songs for kids can put your baby in a happy mood, if the song is too energetic, it could cause your baby to become more active late at night.
- Battery-operated Toys. Toys are fun, but ones that make loud noises or produce artificial light can have a similar effect as music and make your baby more alert instead of making them more relaxed.
As much as you might be tempted to decorate your baby’s room or bed with their favorite things, the ultimate goal of a sleeping area is to induce your child to sleep and rest well. So, make sure that you keep your baby’s room dark and quiet when it’s bedtime.
If you would like one-on-one help for cultivating healthy sleeping habits in your infant or toddler, contact us at Tiny Transitions. We’ve helped thousands of families create sustainable sleep solutions and can do the same for you.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.