Although you won’t be able to make bedtime seem more appealing than playtime, designing your child’s bedroom in a way that is conducive to better sleep and following a good sleep routine can ensure that your child gets a better quality night’s sleep. And if your child sleeps better, so do you.
How Bedroom Design Impacts Sleep
People don’t always associate the environment with the desired effect, but it is true that how you design a bedroom can impact the quality of sleep in it. Things like how you lay are also important, but you can’t underestimate how much the sleep environment really comes into play, especially for children. In order to make sure that your children aren’t over-stimulated and have trouble falling or staying asleep, try out some of these simple tips.
Create a Comfortable Environment
It goes without saying that the environment needs to be comfortable. The room temperature should be kept slightly cooler (around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit), as warmer temperatures will often prompt your child to wake frequently. The room should also be clean and uncluttered, with everything put away in non-see-through storage bins and stored on shelves or in closets; this will reduce stress, anxiety and over-stimulation. The mattress should be comfortable and no older than 10 years, and the bedding (sheets, pillows, blankets) should also not be too old and be very comfortable and breathable.
For children who are especially sensitive to touch and textures, you might want to opt for a memory foam mattress over a spring design, as they will feel the pressure points of the springs more severely. The mattress model offered by Eve Sleep is a good option, as the materials that they use are also a lot more breathable than other brands. Just be sure to let it air out a little bit before using. Ultimately, the best type of mattress for your child will vary depending on their needs and sensitivities, so be sure to read reviews and search this out yourself.
Parents often like to paint a child’s room with very lively, happy colors, like bright yellows, pinks and greens, but when considering color, it is best to go with something more calming and soothing. Carolyn Feder, the founder of Sensory Interior Designs, specializes in creating relaxing spaces for children on the autism spectrum, and she mentioned in an interview with Autism Parenting Magazine that “colors aﬀect our mood, how we process information, how we function and perform tasks. Reds, oranges, yellows and white are over stimulating and can be highly disturbing, whereas blues, greens, purples, browns and black are soothing and comforting.”
Natural light is always best, and having large windows that let in the light during the daytime is great. However, when it comes to bedtime, dark is best. You can incorporate dimmer switches in the bedroom to help smooth the transition from light playtime to dark relaxing time. If your child is afraid of the dark and needs a night light, some say going with a red light bulb is best. Light from outside, especially for afternoon naps, can be easily blocked out by black-out curtains. However, not all blackout curtains are created equal. As Feder notes, “whether lights are oﬀ or on, colors and patterns emit vibrations which aﬀect brain waves in a positive or negative fashion,” so when it comes to choosing the curtains, going with solid colors is best – this likewise applies to bedding.
Create a Quiet Oasis
This leads us a quiet and peaceful oasis for your child that they can wind down in and prepare for sleep. White noise machines are quite calming, as well as doing a good job of canceling out other external noises. Spending quiet time with your child in the darkened bedroom before bed can help trigger them into sleep mode. Children’s company Johnson’s also suggests a routine of bath time and massage time in their Tonight We Sleep challenge which is receiving excellent results. A good and consistent sleep routine, paired with a calming environment, can help your child to relax and eventually drift off to sleep with more regularity and for better quality.