How Cold Weather Affects Your Baby's Sleep, Since Winter Is Coming
As the temperatures drop outside, moms everywhere are rummaging through closets to find hats, coats, and every other item of clothing a kid hates because it's meant to keep them warm. But even though you already know how the cold weather will affect your kid's temperament and time outside, knowing how cold weather affects your baby's sleep is equally important.
According to The Baby Sleep Site, your baby's internal temperature has a lot to do with their sleep. During the day, your baby's body temperature is higher, which keeps them awake. But as the sun goes down, the hormone melatonin is released which makes your child sleepy. When this happens, the body temperature in your little one is also starting to drop. The Baby Sleep Site noted that a lot of parents find that their baby wakes up early, around 4 a.m., and the website suggested that it might be because of your baby's body temperature warming up around that same time.
So cold weather should basically make your baby sleep like a dream, right?
According to BBC News, some other parents thought the same thing and had success. In Sweden, day care centers actually put babies outside to sleep in frigid temperatures, believing that babies sleep longer and are healthier because of it. A study in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health found that, despite the red cheeks, cold fingers, and cold noses, parents in Finland reported that their children slept better and longer in the cold temperatures.
Should you stick your baby outside to sleep? Not necessarily. But keeping them comfortable and not overly warm may help them become better sleepers during the colder months. According to Fit Pregnancy, putting your baby in too many layers or keeping them too warm can actually increase their risk of SIDS as it destabilizes their breathing pattern and makes it more difficult for them to arouse themselves from sleep.
Keeping them comfortable is key and safe, but it could potentially help them sleep better than in the warmer months. The Baby Sleep Site noted that babies do sleep better in cooler temperatures. Is it because of your body's natural ability to drop its temp when night falls? Possibly. Or because it's much more comfortable than waking up in a hot, sweaty mess?
Time also reported that keeping your head cool is beneficial to a good night's sleep, but the theory that cooler weather makes you sleep better is fuzzy when you add in variables like blankets, sheets, pajamas, or having another person next to you in bed.
So it's a toss-up really. My own kid is hot-natured, so when she has a cool room, she definitely seems to sleep better. The important thing is to make sure you don't layer your baby to the point of overheating and that you keep any loose blankets out of the crib. Invest in some warmer pajamas and/or a sleep sack or swaddle to find the perfect combination to keep your baby warm and comfortable.