When a solid stretch of sleep is what a bleary-eyed parent wants, you’ll do almost anything (and I mean anything) to keep your baby soundly snoozing at night . Typically, that means making sure that your little one is well-fed, bathed, and burped before bedtime. It might also mean having your child’s room super warm so that he doesn’t wake up shivering and crying in the middle of the night–and ruin whatever sleep you might have gotten. But even if you want to keep your baby’s nursery beautifully balmy, do babies sleep better in the cold?
Chances are, your child’s room is probably too warm for them. So even though a balmy 75 degrees indoors might feel fantastic during the frigid winter months, it just might be overdoing it. “Keeping the temperature between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal range regardless if it is summer or winter time,” says Dr. Alison Mitzner, MD, a pediatrician. “If it is too hot or cold, babies may not sleep as well.” After all, if your baby is bundled up in a warm room, you run the risk of them starting to sweat, which could wake them up. l
But that’s not the only issue. Apart from a crazy high heating bill, you might also be putting your child’s safety at risk if he’s slumbering in a super warm room. “You don’t want to crank up the heat in the house or have your baby get too hot,” advises Dr. Mitzner. “Studies have shown this can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).” Since babies can’t regulate their body temperatures well, according to the National Institutes of Health, and multiple layers (and blankets) only runs the risk of SIDS in babies.
So if you can’t crank up the heat, what should your thermostat be set at in your home? It all depends, says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, a sleep health expert at Mattress Firm and the director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program. “For adults, the ideal sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Dr. Kansagra. “However, since babies cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults, their sleep environment should be slightly warmer, although a ‘hot’ sleep environment (over 70-72 degrees) is not recommended, as that can actually disturb quality and quantity of sleep – just as it does with adults.”
And what your baby wears to bed also matters just as much as how much you heat the room. Babies should be dressed in a light layer of clothing to sleep in, and snooze in a room that rocks a room temperature that is comfortable for adults, the NIH advises. But if you’re worried that your baby’s teeth (or gums) will be chattering away in the middle of the night, you can always dress them in super light layers. “Your baby can wear a onesie with a one-piece pajama or sleeper and a sleep sac,” says Dr. Mitzner. “Typically, babies only need one more layer then you would need.” And nothing else, (like blankets, pillows, or bumpers), should ever be in the crib to prevent potential suffocation or SIDS, Sleep.org reported. “There should be nothing but the baby in the bassinet or crib,” says Dr. Kansagra.
Keeping your baby warm, safe, and (woot, asleep for most of the night) are the sleep goals for any parent. So dress your baby appropriately, and step away from the thermostat. That way, you’ll ensure sweet dreams…for all of you.