Most new parents, when a baby is no longer a newborn and starting to get a bit older, wonder how they are going to train their baby to sleep through the night–at least for a few hours, anyway; so that they can get some much-needed rest! Some have heard the benefits of night lights. These nursery lamps and lights are very beneficial accessories for the new parents. Experts say that even the little newborns when they are woken up for their feeds every 2 hours or so during the night to be changed and comforted, will benefit from a little lantern in their room. They reckon that it’s much more calming for babies than for mom to suddenly switch on the bright main switch in the room-such a drastic and bright alert–it can potentially disrupt baby’s normal sleeping pattern and even mom’s. It’s like going from night into day, suddenly.
A baby’s night light, lamp or lantern, whatever you like to call it, offers a safe, comfortable, cozy light that does not hinder baby or mom’s sleeping patterns. In saying that, there is also some research around that claims that even some of the dim lights and lamps are capable of disrupting sleep patterns in both child and parent. Why so? Because these studies have shown that parents, when buying night lights need to take care of two things, brightness, and color.
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You Need a Color to Protect the Production of Melatonin
When bright light enters a room at night time, it actually blocks the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, responsible for helping us all to fall asleep at night and to stay asleep. A study completed in 2011 found that being exposed to bright room light before going to bed was responsible for suppressing melatonin, resulting in melatonin only really coming into effect 90 minutes later. Even though it was found that nursery lighting is a good idea and particularly in the first couple of months of a baby’s life, most parents are actually using the wrong kind of light for their kids.
Blue and Green Should Not Be Seen
Blue and green are such peaceful colors; surely a night light for a baby would be ideal in those colors. But blue and green are known to block the production of melatonin. Which brings us to the conclusion that not all night lighting is created equal. Colors of lighting such as blue, green and even white are known to interact with melatonin receptors in the retina, reducing the production of melatonin drastically, and therefore inhibiting sleep. We interpret these colors as ‘daylight’. Just even 5 minutes of being exposed to bright lights can set us back in sleep because it causes us to go stay ‘alert’ by about 90 minutes longer.
If Blue and Green Are Out, What Is In?
It has been proven that colors such as amber and red have positive effects on a baby’s sleep as well as melatonin production. These colors do not interact with the production of melatonin. Some experiments done found that even if amber lighting is very bright, it does not seem to have any effects on the production of melatonin. It is for this reason that when it comes to purchasing night lights for a baby, that you consider red or amber. Speak to your pediatrician and you will see that he will suggest warm lighting sources for the nursery, to avoid alerting or waking up a baby so much that his melatonin production is interfered with and he has difficulty getting back to sleep.
Reasons Why You Should Be Led by Red
We have specialized photo-sensitive cells in the retina called ipRGC’s which can detect light sending messages to the brain which regulates the circadian clock of the body. These cells are pretty sensitive to the color of blue wavelengths and not nearly as sensitive to the red wavelengths. Even the white light that gets emitted from your smartphone, your TV and laptops are the kind of lighting that when baby and others are around will trick them into believing it is still ‘daylight’, making everyone more alert and not ready for bedtime. Get the picture?
Naturally, the best lighting to have in the nursery is nothing, but this isn’t really realistic when nappy changes and feeding needs to take place. It makes sense then to have a light that you can at least accomplish these activities. Just opt for dim lighting and certainly the right color, in this case, red or amber. You can even find apps on your wireless devices that allow red lights to rather be emitted instead of white, a few hours before it is bedtime. Such examples of apps to download are Flux (iOS, Mac) and Twilight (for Android devices).
Choose the Best Night Light Color for Your Baby
Try and not even think only of the nursery. Remember that your baby or child will be exposed to bright ‘wake-up’ kind of lighting already before he has to go to bed, like in the bathroom and other rooms of the house. You might be trying to save on energy with your lighting, but these lights actually emit more blue than the older style incandescent bulbs did. You need to see the light – make changes for the baby’s benefit, so you and baby can get a good night’s sleep.