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Temperature for sleep - getting it right

Temperature for sleep - getting it right

Why is Room Temperature Important for Infant Sleep?

The ambient temperature of a baby's sleeping environment plays a vital role in promoting restful sleep. Extreme warmth or coldness in the bedroom can disrupt sleep quality and lead to nighttime disturbances. 

Temperature plays an important role in our circadian rhythm regulation, with our temperatures rising during waking hours, and dropping during sleeping hours.  A baby who is too hot or cold may struggle to settle to sleep initially, and to drop into a deep, restorative period of sleep.

Excessive warmth from high room temperatures or excessive layers of clothing can also elevate the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Since babies take time to develop their sleep patterns and the ability to regulate their body temperature, they sweat less than adults, aiding in cooling.

 

Maintaining the ideal room temperature for your baby

There are lots of ways to ensure that your baby's sleeping area remains consistently cool without being overly cold:

Be cautious with thermostat settings: not only can a too warm bedroom be uncomfortable for your baby, but there is a potential connection between bedroom heating and SIDS. Consider using a dedicated thermostat for the bedroom or an indoor thermometer to gain better control over the room's temperature.

Minimise exposure to heat and cold sources: especially for very young babies, position the cot or bassinet away from windows, heaters, or items that might influence the temperature around their sleep space.

Stay comfortable during summer: in warmer weather, do your best to keep the room comfortably cool. Utilise a fan or air conditioning if necessary, ensuring the fan isn't blowing directly towards the baby.

Consider developmental stage: premature infants usually take a little longer to for their bodies to learn to regulate their temperature. Monitor them closely for signs of overheating and, if needed, maintain a slightly warmer room temperature.

Factors influencing room temperature can include insulation type and room location within the house - bedrooms situated on higher floors often experience higher temperatures. Watch out for temperature fluctuations within the home, potentially opt for cooler rooms for family sleep during summer.

 

Indicators of temperature discomfort

Signs of overheating encompass sweating and feeling excessively warm. On the contrary, if your baby is too cold, their skin may feel cool to the touch, and they may shiver. Hypothermia might manifest as pale skin, breathing difficulties, weakness, vomiting, feeding problems, irritability, and fatigue.

To gauge your baby's temperature, touch their chest or abdomen, as these areas offer a more accurate reading than their hands and arms. Should your baby appear too hot or cold despite a comfortable room temperature, consult their healthcare provider.

 

Ideal sleeping temperature

Studies suggest that a room temperature ranging from 18-20 degrees Celcius suitable for baby sleep. 

The optimal room temperature for a sleeping baby could depend on your region's typical climate. Babies accustomed to warmer climates might tolerate slightly higher temperatures. Experts warn against excessive air conditioning in summer or strong heating in winter, as both can pose risks.

 

Temperature thresholds

A baby's room exceeding 22 degrees Celsius might be uncomfortably warm. A previous study suggested that using a fan when temperatures exceeded 22 degrees Celcius was linked to lower SIDS risk.

Besides room temperature, dressing your baby appropriately is equally important for maintaining comfort. If your baby's chest feels warm, adjust the temperature or clothing layers to ensure cooling.

 

Sleeping preferences in cooler rooms

Babies generally sleep better in pleasantly cool environments. Due to their higher surface area relative to weight, babies lose body heat more readily. 

A baby who is too cold may be prone to early wakes, as the temperature is usually its lowest around 4am.  If your little one is waking early to start the day, check their room temperature and what they are wearing - adding an extra clothing layer, or a slightly warmer sleeping bag may be all that's needed to change this.

 

The SmartSnugg layering guide is an excellent starting point if you are unsure how to dress your baby for sleep!

 

As always, reach out with any questions, we are happy to chat 

xx Cara

 

 

References:

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