For parents to newborns and young children, sleepless and disrupted nights are part of the deal. And when the young one starts to cry, parents start going through the checklist of all the things that might be causing the discomfort. Are they hungry? Having bad dreams? Too hot? Too cold?
It can be difficult to pin down the exact reason why a child wakes up in the night. But one thing that’s always worth paying attention to is the temperature and humidity of their bedroom throughout the night. If these are at uncomfortable levels, it can affect the child’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What is the ideal temperature & humidity level for baby?
Since the seasons in BC change drastically in temperature and humidity, it’s important to pay attention to how hot, cold, dry or humid it is inside the house throughout the year. New digital thermostats can be programmed to let you know what the levels are, and can track changes room to room.
When thinking about the temperature of a baby’s room, some research has shown that keeping the room between 16-20 degrees C is most comfortable for them (with 18-19 degrees being the average consensus for ideal bedroom temperature). While this might seem a bit chilly to an adult, babies especially sleep better in a slightly cooler room.
If you don’t have a room-specific thermostat to control the temperature, you can crack the window slightly, especially on warm nights, or turn on a fan on the opposite side of the room. This can have the added benefit of providing some white background noise, which often helps a baby stay asleep.
During the winter when the temperature outside drops, it’s still a good idea to keep the room slightly on the cooler side, but keep extra blankets nearby in case it’s suddenly too cold. It may take a while to heat the air back up if the temperature drops so extra blankets will come in handy.
Of course, it will be necessary to check on the room throughout the night to make sure that it does not cool off too much.
For humidity, it is recommended to keep indoor levels to between 30-50%. When the moisture in the air is too low, skin dries out, and so does a person’s nasal passages. This can cause sinus irritation and can lead to a weakened immune system, making small children and babies more susceptible to colds and illness.
A small room humidifier can often do the trick. These effective machines are cost-effective and simple to use, and they quickly raise the humidity especially in a small room. If you notice that your baby or small child has dry or cracked skin, sinus irritations, or is getting sick more often than their peers, it might be a good idea to invest in a humidifier and to use it while they sleep.
Of course every child is different and each has unique needs, and parenting often comes down to trial and error. When it comes to sleep, parents are usually willing to try every trick in the book, especially after a few sleepless nights in a row. Something like bedroom temperature and humidity might not be top of mind, but it is definitely worth thinking about when trying to make babies and children more comfortable throughout the night.