If your child sleeps with the light on, does it matter? If she has a fear of the dark, what should you do? How can you encourage your child to sleep soundly? The implementation of a little science combined with some helpful advice will have you and your child sleeping peacefully in no time.
The Importance of a Dark Room
Did you know that kids sleep the best when the room is completely dark? In order to assist your child in getting a good night’s sleep, it’s crucial to comprehend how our brains react to light and darkness. The chemical melatonin, sometimes known as “the darkness hormone,” is the body’s natural method of regulating sleep in accordance with day/night cycles, beginning when a baby is between 3 and 4 months old.
How does it function? The fundamental concept is that melatonin, through its secretion by the pineal gland, is the message our brains send out telling our body that it is nighttime and to prepare to fall asleep. Bright light, however, limits the release of melatonin into the bloodstream, whereas darkness stimulates the production of melatonin.
How to Make Everything Totally Dark
If you live in a bright environment or somewhere where it’s still light outside when you put your child to bed, make sure the windows are covered with room-darkening drapes or shades. (In a pinch, cardboard can also be used.) To ensure that any light you can’t completely eradicate isn’t reflected on other surfaces, if at all possible, use darker hues for the walls and other furniture. Close the door to your child’s bedroom if the light outside must remain on. Of course, you’ll also want to check that the overhead light is turned off for your youngster.
How to Lessen Nocturnal Phobias
We all understand that children’s fear of the dark is a very regular occurrence. Of course, melatonin’s ability to induce sleep is countered by the release of adrenaline and a host of other chemicals that boost wakefulness when we are afraid. What then should a parent do?
Believing that your child will always be terrified of the dark is a mistake. Parents can occasionally unintentionally nurture a phobia that isn’t necessarily normal. Darkness can be viewed as a normal component of nighttime if your child has grown up sleeping in a dark room without a night light and with the door closed.
But occasionally, with a vivid imagination on the loose, even kids who are accustomed to sleeping in a dark room might experience anxiety. In this situation, you can lessen the likelihood of such concerns by making darkness more welcoming. Maybe you can sing together in the dark or enjoy a candlelit dinner. You can prevent fearful imagination by avoiding scary books and movies.
A noise generator or soft, calming music may also be helpful, because, occasionally, hearing is heightened when nothing can be seen. The darkness can become less frightening and even a friendly companion for your child if they are aware that the same cozy, reassuring sounds and textures will be waiting for them in bed.
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