My 1 tip for night-feeding mums (and dads! Or indeed anyone who finds themselves not falling asleep easily) – buy a pair of geeky Amber glasses and/or swap a red light bulb into your lamp! This is almost guaranteed to allow you have quality sleep whilst it is broken sleep.
Read on for the back story…
Back in January, Sunflower was in and out of our bedroom several times a night. We were not just being woken up but were unable to get back to sleep quickly. Her night wakings had become so disruptive that we needed to figure out how to get better quality sleep rather than simply more of it. This prompted my better half started to do some research.
What he found has changed our lives…literally!
He discovered that the problem is light, it (specifically blue light) suppresses the secretion of melatonin – the sleep hormone. Ever heard the expression “wake and sleep with the sun”? Well this is why it is relevant – in the absence of daylight our brains produce melatonin and we begin to feel sleepy.
Life has evolved such that very few of us actually wake and sleep with the sun, it simply would not be practical! Imagine sleeping from 5pm til 8am in the winter (bliss!) and then only from 10pm til 4am in the summer?! Winter days may not be so productive!! It is now the norm for us to be awake well past the first hours of darkness, first people used candlelight, which doesn’t emit blue light and hence doesn’t disrupt melatonin, but now we use light bulbs. And it is this very simple and staple invention that prevents our bodies from producing melatonin at the right time.
The world in which we live bombards us with blue light – light bulbs, tv screens, computers, smart phones, clock radios and backlit devices. The science shows that removing Bluelight for at least one hour before sleep, is the most effective way to create sufficient melatonin for sleep conditions. (reducing is not effective as even the smallest amount of bluelight can suppress melatonin).
How can this work with a modern life – where we typically bring our phones to bed, work when the children are in bed and relax in front of the TV for a while before bed. All of which are actually detrimental to getting good quality sleep. The changes we’ve made in our house have allowed us to live as normal whilst really improving our sleep quality – the lights we use at night time – bedside and hallway, have yellow light bulbs, this provides a very warm hue but sufficient to read by.
When I wake to feed Daffodil during the night I can fall back to sleep almost instantly – some mornings barely remembering what time I woke! And we have a digital clock radio with a red on black screen – so we can see the time during the night without waking. I used to use my phone as a night light, a beside click and a torch, and I didn’t realise it was actually waking me up everytime I glanced at it! I would struggle to get back to sleep even though I was tired. Not any more! And for those evenings when I want to watch some TV from my bed, we don’t have a tv in the bedroom, so I bring down my phone and wear some really funky Amber lenses safety glasses!
These babies can be used watching normal tv, using your phone, doing middle of the night emails etc, and they conveniently let you get back to sleep quickly! They are not the sexiest glasses in the world but they make a mountain of difference in sleep quality, and therefore ability to function during the day! I have found that even with broken sleep I feel much more rested after evenings in Amber hues!
Number one tip for night feeding mums (and dads!) – buy a pair of geeky Amber glasses or swap a red or yellow light bulbs into your lamp! I highly recommend making these simple changes – give it a try for 2 nights and see if you notice a difference.
I’d love to know if it’s made a difference to you…