Do your little one’s keep on waking up super early in the mornings – like 05:30 – 06:00 early?

Have you noticed a correlation in your own waking times being earlier as the sun journeys North in the summer? Have you noticed your wake times being later in the mornings in the winter months as it moves south?

Why is Darkness so important for sleep?

In the late afternoon and early evening as the sun starts to set, our brains are continually measuring the change in natural light and start preparing us for the onset of sleep. Your muscles start relaxing, you may notice yourself feeling tired, you are yawning more frequently, and your core body temperature even starts to drop.

The key is that in the absence of light our bodies are able to produce the hormone, melatonin which helps to regulate our sleep patterns. The biggest problem we face in our sleep health in our modern society is that melatonin production is being delayed in so many of us as we stay up later and later watching TV and scrolling on our devices in bright environments leading to an increase in sleep deprivation.

Our prolonged exposure to light in the evenings means that we are falsely tricking our brains into believing that it is still daytime and actually suppressing the hormone being produced. This delay in producing melatonin is one of the contributing factors in the quality of our sleep not being as good as it could be. If our sleeping environment isn’t dark enough it can mean that it can be harder to fall asleep and even stay asleep for long enough to get the restorative sleep, we need.

Did you know that children are extremely photosensitive?

What that means is that just the slightest change in light – even just a tiny sliver above the curtain rail or at the sides where the blind doesn’t quite meet the wall – sends a message to the brain to wake up. So, we can’t really be mad at them when they wake up early, because they’re only doing what their brains are telling them to do.

In an effort to ensure that our little ones are getting enough sleep, we can help to prolong their sleep in the mornings and improve the quality of their daytime naps by completely darkening their rooms. (Note that this applies to adults too!)

Firstly, assess how dark your little one’s room is. Use the scale below as a guide.

Go into the room during the daytime and close the curtains and door. Wait a few minutes for your eyes to adjust and see how much you can see.

• Is there light shining in above the curtain rail?
• Look at the sides / meeting point in the middle of the curtains – how much light is getting through there?
• Look under the door – how much light is shining in under the door or even between the door and the door frame?
• How bright are the lights on your air conditioner / air purifier / dehumidifier / room thermometer / baby monitor camera? Be sure to cover those light sources too as they can be really annoying and distracting when it’s time to sleep.

bedroom darkness

Anything below an 8 on the scale and you or your little one will likely be experiencing unnecessary early wakings, short naps and possibly even longer periods of wakefulness before falling asleep because of the stimulation that the light can cause.

If you need to get that room darker – I have the perfect solutions for you – Light Blocker for Windows – and Light Blocker for Doors – products which I am proud to have added to my portfolio at Sleep Solutions.  Almost every single client I have spoken to in the last 2.5 years has needed to get their little one’s room darker.  I always used to say that the solution didn’t need to be pretty, it just needed to be effective.  Well – I’ve changed my mind on that.  Black bags are ugly, and they smell funny.  Tinfoil is also effective but is quite wasteful and doesn’t always stick easily. 

Light Blocker for Windows is a reusable, non-adhesive white window film that adheres with static electricity to create a dark room for enhanced sleep.  The problem is that sometimes not even expensive blockout curtains provide total darkness for our sleeping environments.  Early wakings and short naps could be a thing of the past for your little ones when you create as perfect and dark a room as you can with your Light Blocker.  

Suitable for all smooth plain glass windows, the white film can be cut to size and easily applied (and reapplied) so your little one can get the restful sleep they need with no disturbance from too much light when it is time to sleep.  This is a game changer for the hassle and ugly garbage bags taped up on your window.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to install.

BEFORE YOU ORDER: measure the glass and add 2cm’s to your measurements of your window and work out the most economical way to cover your windows.  

Light Blocker for Doors – are custom made pouches made with love and filled with lavender scented rice to block light from sneaking in under your little one’s bedroom doors.  

Before you walk away feeling like light is all bad – let’s not underestimate the importance of sunlight!  We need sunlight to be able to produce Vitamin D and also regulate our body clocks every day, and even more so when changing time zones.  (More on that in a blog to follow!)