Usually, on the subject of child sleep, there is a common doubt: the fear or strangeness of letting the baby sleep totally in the dark. Mums report that they prefer to leave a lamp on, a light in the hallway, a light in the bathroom, in short, something that comforts the baby so that he doesn’t feel alone or afraid (without knowing that most of his cries have nothing to do with it).

These reports are very common, but this is just a myth. The baby is not afraid of the dark, the baby does not know the fantasies about the dark as adults do. This comfort is for the mothers and not for the babies. And different from what people think about sleeping in the dark is essential for quality sleep for all human beings. Let’s understand:

Melatonin is responsible for inducing sleep (but it is not the only one responsible for feeling sleepy). It is produced by the pineal gland (famous third eye, for being located in the middle of the brain, in the centre of the eyes) and its greatest production and concentration happens at night. It starts at the end of the day and when night comes it increases rapidly, decreasing dramatically at daybreak. For this reason, sleeping too late ends up disturbing all our rhythm, because we lose this important biological moment. Melatonin is essential for the regulation of our biological clock (circadian rhythm) and for several other functions of our organism.

Usually, on the subject of child sleep, there is a common doubt: the fear or strangeness of letting the baby sleep totally in the dark.
CREDIT: MARIE DESPEYROUX / UNSPLASH

In short: the absorption of melatonin only happens properly when we sleep completely in the dark. In this way our organism understands that it is time to sleep and starts the release of melatonin into the bloodstream, inducing our body to relax and feel sleepy.

But what about naps, are they in the dark or the light?

In children, everything I have explained above occurs in the same way, but with a few “but”: the regulation of the circadian rhythm starts at the end of the second month, so before that moment sleep is regulated by internal rhythms (without the influence of light and dark), but in the second month it is important to start organizing little by little the routine of food, sleep and good habits at bedtime.

Then, in the first-month sleep may be with little light, but still light. Duration of a maximum of 2 hours (in the place where the baby will also sleep at night) and always showing that it is day, when the baby wakes up open the windows and speak louder, with animation.

After the second month in the dark as well as at night, she will have as much quality as possible. Remembering that naps are extremely important for the healthy development of babies in the first 2 to 3 years.

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