Getting a good night’s sleep for your little one
OHbaby! spoke with certified sleep science coach, Jane Wrigglesworth, at the 'Dyson Clean Living Starts Indoors' panel discussion to learn about the effect indoor air quality might have on sleep and get her tips on helping our little ones get a good night’s rest.
A recent survey by Dyson revealed that more than half (55%) of Kiwis surveyed don’t believe that air quality has any effect on their sleep, with only a third (35%) taking steps to ensure the air in their bedroom is clean to help get a good night’s sleep.
The survey found that Kiwis were more likely to sleep in a dark room (59%), invest in quality sheets and bedding (43%), and invest in quality pillows (42%) to improve their quality of sleep.
Here are Jane’s top three tips for our little ones getting the sleep they need.
1/ Establish a routine that will set the building blocks for a solid sleep
A bedtime routine will reduce sleep problems for infants (as well as us adults). Mealtimes are a cue that we are leading up to bedtime, as is bath and a bedtime story. It's key to keep these activities consistent.
If your child naturally runs hot, a bath just before bed may keep them awake, as sleep is initiated when our body starts to cool down. Both excessively high or low ambient temperature affects sleep.
For newborns, it takes two to three months before they begin to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) in levels needed for sleep. Breastfeeding can introduce melatonin to a baby through its mother’s breast milk in the meantime.
2/ Take a closer look at what they’re sleeping on
If your child has sensitive skin, look into their bedding more closely. After all, they are spending a considerable amount of time there.
If you’re using a second hand or hand-me-down cot, you might want to consider buying a new mattress or adding a dust mite protector to your existing one. Old mattresses have a risk to host harmful pathogens (bacteria, fungus, mould and mildew) which can lead to breathing difficulties and disturbed sleep.
The lifespan of a baby’s mattress depends on a number of factors, but most are designed to last for five years (with adults’ mattresses lasting between seven and 10 years). If it has been well maintained, kept away from moist environments, protected with dust mite covers and without any indentations from wear, it may last longer.
3/ The indoor environment matters too
It’s important to understand the air in your home too, especially if your child has allergies. Breathing in airborne pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from furniture, cleaning products or air fresheners, can lead to sleep-disordered breathing and ultimately a bad night’s sleep.
Try and avoid VOCs as much as possible by going with furniture made of solid wood or buying chemical-free mattresses and bedding. Another option is investing in an air purifier with HEPA filter (such as the Dyson Pure Cool purifying fan) which can capture these types of particles from the air and project clean purified area around your home.
Jane has devoted her career to sleep, health and wellness and spent the last 10 years studying the science of sleep. She now runs a sleep clinic 'How to Sleep Well', find out more info here: www.howtosleepwell.org