New parents live in a constant state of sleep deprivation – it’s an unavoidable reality of life with a new baby, and parents have dozens of strategies for trying to get more sleep. Some parents turn to co-sleeping, while others prefer sleep training. There are parents who swear by certain music, a special sleep sack or swaddling blanket, or a fancy cradle. But do any of them really work? The jury’s still out.
Rather than fuss over the little details, though, new parents need to look at the big picture: their nursery’s design. Turning your infant’s nursery into a sleep haven is your best bet if you want to get a better night’s sleep, and these four simple strategies build the foundation. With a few adjustments, you’ll all be sleeping better.
Light It Right
Babies wake up constantly during the night, and whether you’re changing diapers or preparing a bottle, you’re going to need some light. Turn on an overhead light or the main lamp, though, and you’ll end up with an over-stimulated baby who won’t go back to sleep. No, if you want to keep your baby relaxed and ready to go back to sleep, you need the right lighting. Equip your infant’s nursery with red bulbs and low reading lights that don’t trigger the body’s wake up hormones. You’ll have enough light to see by, but baby won’t think it’s time to play.
Block Out The World
It’s not just artificial lighting that can disrupt your baby’s sleep; sunlight, streetlights, and all the noise outside often pose even bigger problems, and that’s why you need to shut them out. But of course this is an issue for adults, too. If you want to get a good night’s sleep, dark curtains can block out natural light and keep everyone in your family from waking up with the sunrise. For nurseries, though, many sleep experts recommend layering window treatments.
In addition to dark curtains, consider adding plantation shutters to your baby’s room. Plantation shutters are lightweight and easy to install, but they also block out light and sound and are much safer than traditional blinds. Steer clear of corded blinds, which can pose a strangulation hazard to young children.
Consider Carpet Cover
Kids are tough on carpet. There are stains and spills and crumbs everywhere – but don’t rule out carpet entirely when furnishing your baby’s nursery. Placing partial carpet cover helps to muffle sounds, including footsteps and noise from other parts of the house. Plus, if you opt for an area rug instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, you can swap out patterns and styles as your child grows.
Snuggle Up With Seating
While your goal is to get your baby to sleep through the night without you, until that happens, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the nursery, and you’ll want to be comfortable. Be sure your child’s room has comfortable seating, whether that’s a rocking chair, glider, or couch. Ideally, you should be able to fall asleep in this chair when your child has a fitful night, but you should also be able to easily get up from it to put baby back in their crib.
In a few years, you’ll have a school age child, and your sleep woes will be (mostly) behind you, but when it’s happening, it can feel like you’ll never sleep again. Short circuit that cycle and hit the hay – it’s all about creating a nursery that’s optimized for sleep. You don’t need to wait years to sleep through the night.