Toddler Sleep and How Room Conditions Matter
Updated: Jul 21, 2022
I always begin by telling my clients to 'control the variables you can' As a parent of a toddler I am sure you are smiling to yourself because you know the importance of that. Some things are going to be dictated by your toddler's mood that minute, where they are developmentally, and if they want to do something (or being toddlers more likely, if they don't want to do something.) Sleep often gets wrapped up in the whirlwind of toddler-dom and next thing you know you perfect sleeper is a terror who really comes to life just in time for bedtime. So, let's control what we can and make your child's room ideal for sleep.
We are looking to create a cool, very dark, quiet bedroom for your little one. Why? Because it can impact sleep and as a parent of a toddler, you need to make anything easier whenever possible. Not to mention, what doesn't impact your child one day, might the next day. So if you struggle with sleep in your home, this is the first thing any great consultant will evaluate.
Cool- The goal is to have the room between 68-72 degrees. Our bodies are biologically designed to sleep when it is darker and cool. Often I work with families and after asking they let me know their child sleeps in heavy pjs, socks, blankets (after 1 year old for safety) and wake-up sweaty. As parents we are usually more worried about our child being too cold, but too hot can also cause sleep and comfort issues. So make sure a fan or ac is on or you are ventilating the room during the day to cool it. If you live somewhere where you use a window box ac unit, set it to continuously run throughout the night rather than shutting on and off as the sound can startle your child awake.
Very Dark- Again, our bodies are biologically designed to sleep when it is dark and wake when it is light. I can't tell you how many families have called me looking for sleep help, I recommend they fix the lighting in the room and they no longer need help with early morning wake-ups or their child having trouble falling asleep. Especially in the summer, the sun is still up well past 8:15pm and sunrise at 5:20am- I know I prefer sleeping beyond 6am, so anything to get a little more sleep in the morning is worth a shot. A great test for this is shutting the shades and turning lights off in the middle of the day, if you can still see enough to walk around, it isn't dark enough. To get a room very dark it often takes blackout shades and blackout curtains.
Quiet- A wise man, Mark Fisher, from Mark Fisher Fitness once told me "our bodies were designed for a world that no longer exists" that could not be more true. Our bodies were designed to be cavemen living in nature with predators. So, now as we sleep in our comfortable modern indoor homes and apartments, we hear a noise while sleeping which startles us awake because again, our bodies were designed to survive predators. Block out those noises that startle your child awake with a quality white noise machine. If you can't walk around the home freely, talking, and living life after your child's 7pm bedtime because they might hear you and wake-up, turn that sound machine up! White noise also sounds like a womb, so it is a familiar and comfortable sound for your child.
Again, when we are dealing with toddlers who aren't the most rational people on the block, let's control the variables we can and make their room ideal for sleep, because we all know, our children and us parents need all we can get. For more guidance on how to get your child falling asleep on their own and sleeping through the night, schedule a free first session here.