When a solid stretch of sleep is the name of the game, you’ll do almost anything (and I mean anything) to keep your baby snoozing. Usually, that means making sure that your little one has a full tummy before bedtime. It might also mean keeping your child’s room warm so that he doesn't wake up shivering and crying in the middle of the night. But what if you're turning the thermostat in the wrong direction? Do babies sleep better in the cold?
Chances are, your child’s room is probably too warm for them. While 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,” pediatrician Alison Mitzner M.D. tells Romper. “If it is too hot or cold, babies may not sleep as well.”
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 SIDS.” Plus, there’s a greater chance that they’ll wake up anyway, since they’re going to be sweaty.
So what should your thermostat be set at in your home? Well, it can vary, according to Sujay Kansagra, M.D., director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program. “For adults, the ideal sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit,” Dr. Kansagra tells Romper. “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.”
Now, 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 him in 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 and sleeping safely are 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.
Dr. Alison Mitzner, M.D., a pediatrician
Dr. Sujay Kansagra, M.D., director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program