The Right Way to Use a Nightlight for Better Sleep
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Whether you need a nightlight to help with middle-of-the-night diaper changes or your toddler needs one to help keep the nighttime scaries at bay, it’s important to avoid some of the sleep-sabotaging pitfalls that can come with introducing a light into your bub’s dark and cozy sleep space. To learn all about the do’s and don’ts of baby and toddler nightlights, keep reading!
Do babies and toddlers need a nightlight?
Many parents and children find that having a nightlight is beneficial. A nightlight can allow you to feed your baby or change their diaper in the middle of the night without having to turn on a disruptive, bright table lamp or overhead light. A nightlight also lets you stealthily check-in on your sleeping baby without disturbing them. And toddlers and preschoolers often find a great sense of comfort with a nightlight. Pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp notes that children tend to feel safer if they see familiar surroundings, as opposed to a gulf of darkness, when they wake in the middle of the night. In fact, if your child experiences nightmares, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a nightlight if it makes them feel better. (For help selecting the perfect nightlight, check out our guide to finding the best nightlight.)
DON’T put your child’s nightlight right next to them.
Placing a child’s nightlight right next to their bed can be a distraction and a disturbance. Instead, put your child’s nightlight out of their direct line of sight, maybe even partially blocked by some furniture. This way, your little one benefits from the comforting glow, but they aren’t exposed to a close-up light that can potentially turn a brief nighttime wake up into a full blown, wake-the-whole-house experience.
DO choose a calming color for your child’s nightlight.
Wondering what color nightlight is best for kids? It may surprise you! While a red light may not scream “sleep” to you, it’s widely believed that exposure to red light stimulates the production of melatonin, the body’s sleepytime hormone. On the other hand, exposure to white or blue light—which is standard in most nightlights—may disrupt sleep by inhibiting the release of melatonin. That means you want to opt for a nightlight that gives off a warm, red-ish or orange-ish glow. The award-winning SNOObie nightlight and sound machine allows you to choose between eight soothing colors, including sleep-helping red and orange.
DON’T assume your infant needs a nightlight.
While fresh-from-the-womb newborns can easily conk out in bright light and bustling rooms, it doesn’t take long for those very same babies to crave darkness and white noise for sleep.
A dark room stimulates the release of melatonin and offers your infant less stimulation, which’ll help them settle to sleep. So, instead of setting up an all-night nightlight in your infant’s sleep space, consider using a tap-to-turn-on nightlight that you can use whenever you need a bit of light to check in on your child. Or utilize a dim nightlight that has a timer, so that you know it’ll cut to black while your bub snoozes. (SNOObie has both of those options!)
DO keep the nightlight dim.
As anyone who’s tried to snooze with an early morning sunbeam projected directly onto their face knows, bright light can easily disturb sleep! That goes for a too-bright nightlight, as well. The ideal baby and big kid nightlight should offer a soft, comforting glow—not a blinding beam of light! Even better: Select a nightlight that allows for manual dimming and has an internal light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness based on ambient light. Happiest Baby’s SNOObie Smart Soother has both of these unique features, plus its nightlight can be programmed to dim after tuck-in.
DON’T choose a one-size-fits-all nightlight.
All kids are different—and so are your nightlight options. To ensure that your nightlight pick is the right one for your child, select a nightlight that’s adjustable, programmable, and multipurpose. For example, SNOObie allows for both manual and programmable activation and dimming, which ensures all of SNOObie’s eight light colors are always at the just-right level of brightness. Besides being a customizable nightlight, SNOObie plays 12 soothing sounds—including white noise, lullabies, and shushing sounds. And SNOObie is an OK-to-wake sleep trainer and a mindful breathing coach, to boot!
More Toddler Sleep Tips:
- Dr. Harvey Karp on How to Sleep Train Your Toddler
- Find the Right Bedtime for Your Toddler
- Why Won’t Your Toddler Sleep?!
- Learn How to Use an OK-to-Wake Clock
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.