Once you become a parent, you will never look at sleep in the same way. A good night’s sleep becomes a highly sought after, highly valued and seemingly rare event. Particularly in that first year of your baby’s life, one of the big goals in that first year is to get your baby to sleep longer through the night.
We swaddle, we shush, we give dream feeds, extra feeds, more solids, baby massage, warm baths – all in an effort to get some of that elusive sleep. But one thing that is frequently overlooked by new parents is the temperature of the room where their baby sleeps.
As adults, we sleep better in a room that’s not too hot and not too cold. The same applies to your baby, but because there are so many other things to think about when they wake in the night – are they hungry, are they wet, are they unwell – parents often forget about room temperature.
The Sleep foundation links bedroom temperature and body temperature with successful sleep. A lowering in body temperature is generally associated with drowsiness i, which means a room temperature that is too high can lead to restlessness and poor sleep. Adjusting your baby’s room temperature could make a significant difference to how soundly your bub rests.
Guidelines around how many layers to put on your baby at night are quite useful, but often don’t take into consideration that the body’s temperature goes up and down at night, so what may be okay for the first half of the night may not be optimal for the time just before dawn, when our body temperature drops.
Another important factor to consider is that very young babies are unable to regulate their body temperature. It’s important that your baby’s sleeping environment is adjusted to accommodate this.
While SIDS and Kids doesn’t recommend a specific room temperature for healthy babies ii, it is a good idea to maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature in the nursery that is similar to the rest of the home.
It is difficult for parents to gauge the temperature of the room just by feel, so the use of a room thermometer is useful in this instance. You should also feel your baby to make sure they are not too warm or too cold, cold hands and feet do not mean that your baby is cold: it is more a sign of their newly developing circulatory system. You are better off feeling their tummy, chest or back to get an idea of their overall body temperature.
Signs that they may be too warm include iii:
- frequent waking
- sweaty back
- damp hair
- shallow or rapid breathing.
Possible signs that your baby is too cold might be iv:
- moving around the cot more than usual
- rolling onto their tummy
- catnapping in the day
- waking at around 5am (in keeping with the natural body temperature dip just before dawn).
Regardless of the time of year parents set up the nursery, the introduction of a reverse cycle air conditioner can assist with managing the room temperature all year round.
Modern systems allow for pre-programmed temperature settings for different times of the night or day and can be adjusted depending on the weather outside.
These are ideal because the temperature can be controlled around sleep times – some units allow for up to four on/off times to be set in one day – so you can program it for day sleeps, and long stretches at night.
Knowing that room temperature is taken care of can bring parents peace of mind. Having one less thing to worry about means that when your baby does start sleeping through the night, you’ll be able to as well.
Fujitsu is Australia’s leading supplier of air conditioning products. Fujitsu have developed a range of cost effective air conditioning for every space or taste with units covering both residential and commercial applications, and including a designer range for stylish modern interiors. That’s why they’re proud to say they are ‘Australia’s Favourite Air’.