Sunlight: Can It Actually Promote Sleep?

by Lynne Ticknor

Sunlight: Can It Actually Promote Sleep?

Can’t get your newborn to sleep through the night? Let her play in the light.

For babies up to 3 months, the more natural light to which they’re exposed, the quieter and longer their nighttime sleep, according to the Journal of Sleep Research. Light helps young babies set their biological clocks, including their still-undeveloped sleep-wake cycles.

More daylight may also help older babies and kids  — and even moms  — sleep better, experts say. Daylight makes people more alert and less drowsy during the day, so nighttime sleep is deeper.

You’ll still want to protect your child from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, of course. Fortunately, that’s easy. Light filtered through sunscreen  — or windows, which block some ultraviolet rays  — is also effective. It’s visible light that counts.

So slather on sunscreen (it’s fine for little babies), or if it’s too hot for an afternoon stroll, open the blinds and let her play in the sunlight.