Can fresh air help a baby sleep longer?

We all know that fresh air is good for us - and for baby. But can it actually help a baby sleep longer and better?

Fresh air and baby’s sleep

Parents’ guide to fresh/cold air aiding baby’s sleep

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Fresh air is good for us - everyone knows that. And it’s good for baby too. Nothing like getting them out for a brisk walk, even if it’s not the height of summer you can wrap them up and just go. And many people say that their baby sleeps better -and for longer - after a nap in the fresh air.

In Scandinavia, allowing babies to nap outside is standard practice and there are studies which indicate its benefits at helping little ones to sleep better and longer, although they do not all agree conclusively on this.

One study (Journal of Sleep Research 2004) found that babies sleep longer when exposed to plenty of light in the afternoon. Dr Yvonne Harrison, who led the study, said many mothers felt that it would be unsafe to leave a baby outside today, but putting the infant in front of a large window rather than in the darkened nursery was an alternative.

Here are some of the perceived benefits

1. Cooler temperatures are believed to promote a longer, deeper sleep.
2. Babies who nap outside tend to be happy to nap anywhere.
3. Spending more time outdoors decreases exposure to germs in exposed places - so possibly fewer coughs and colds.
4. Being a fan of the great outdoors from an early age will encourage them to explore outdoor activities as they grow and possibly make them more adventurous too.
5. When baby’s outside, you are out there too. It’s a win-win for the family as everyone reaps the benefits of the fresh air.

Tips before you try:

1. Make sure baby is well wrapped up if it’s cold.
2. Check baby regularly and make sure your baby is wearing correct clothes for the temperature - check your baby’s body temperature by looking for sweating or by feeling your baby’s tummy, back or neck (your baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler and that’s normal).
3. Shield baby from direct sun and wind.
4. Don’t ever cover buggy with a blanket as this restricts air restriction and is dangerous.
5. Use a baby monitor if you are inside while baby is outside and, obviously, close supervision is key.

Can fresh air help a baby sleep longer?