June 12, 2012




Many years ago on my parenting journey, my young daughter went through a stage where she just wouldn’t go to sleep at night.  It didn’t matter how tired she was, if she had rested or slept during the day or how calming or quiet her evening routine was.  

She was sleep-evasive.







I tried everything – earlier dinnertimes, changing the routine around, leaving on a night-light, singing her to sleep- even sitting in her room with her until she went to sleep. (This could take two hours.)

And nothing really worked.

It was so frustrating and TIME consuming and drove me mad really.

At the end of a day filled with children, all I want to do is to be able to have some quiet, adult time.  You too?  Parenting is hard enough work without it dragging on for hours at the end of a day.  This is when it is really hard to remain calm and centred and patient.  I needed a solution- fast.


A friend suggested dimming the lights (or turning off the main ones and lighting a few lamps instead) in the house once dinner was finished, and giving her a bath in a candle-lit room every single night.  You know what? It worked.


As my upcoming book says, a cosy light-reduced atmosphere allows the child to switch into relax mode and become sleepy. Our goal is to increase serotonin release, the hormone in the body that induces sleep. Bright lights (such as the ones we turn on in our living room and hall globes after dusk) inhibit this process.


It’s a little different for newborn sleeping patterns of course. But we can help them to come into our rhythms a little sooner too, by simply making sure they too have indirect ‘exposure’ to the dawning and setting of the natural light from the sun. (You might, for example, leave the curtains open during the day during their midday sleeps rather than darkening the room).


Dimming or reducing the amount of bright light we are exposed to as the evening wears on can help us all (children, and adults too) to fall asleep so much more easily.  I’d like that. Would you?


Extra tip for parents:  Be ‘light’ aware. Have you noticed that it can be really difficult to fall asleep after a long night of catch-up work on the computer?   This backlit electric light is just as big a culprit. Turn off the computer at least an hour before you need to sleep and read a good book instead. I guarantee you’ll be asleep before you know it.


This post was written by Amber Greene … a Writer and Parenting Educator whose motto in life is to ‘Fire up your Creative Spark!”  She helps women and children around the globe to unveil their creative powers. Amber provides creative strategies for parenting and supports parents to increase their confidence and find more joy and fun in the busy daily slog. Visit her at www.mamamoontime.com for a daily dose of creative inspiration, and free art and crafty activities for both mama and child.

We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.
  • We found lavender and like in the article- dim lights really help us!


  • I have two single mum friends who are currently experiencing this. One had to see a paediatrician and get melatonin drops


  • Hmmm, I remember those phases! I’m walking around all zombie-fied, hanging to go to bed, and there’s baby….bright eyed and bushy tailed not even looking like going to sleep at midnight!


  • She look like a doll, so cute. Great information.


  • that is a cute baby. thanks for posting these great tips


  • Any tips on getting an 8 year old to sleep?
    I keep it dark, limit the stimulation before bed – yet she still remains awake anywhere between 10-12pm. Her bedtime is 7:30! And then shes up at 7:15 wide awake and bushy tailed lol


  • Interesting article. I’d like to get my evenings back (to do something productive or even just relax, rather than spending the whole time trying to get the baby to sleep!)

    The baby in this photo is absolutely adorable – what a gorgeous pic.


  • I ended up getting a touch lamp with 3 stages of lighting, it worked wonders when I was feeding so as not to wake up the kidlets, but in saying that my 2nd bub was self-evasive as well….. so much so that I took her to a sleep clinic…..where she promptly slept the whole day away!


  • Congratulations on your book, hope it flies off the shelves and thank your for the article, read with interest.


  • will have to try dimming the lights and the candle, see if that helps, thanks for sharing this


  • Wow really helpful.Thank you!


  • thank you for sharing my baby is hard to sleep , it’s great tips


  • Thank you, will have to try this.


  • thank you sharing this article good read


  • Thanks for the interesting read


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