The Hypothalamus is a part of the brain which is connected to the back of the eyes. It releases different hormones according to the amount of light it perceives. Seratonin, which wakes us up in the morning, and Melatonin, the hormone responsible for making us sleepy at night.
Four factors which affect Melatonin
– Lighting: Light affects the production of Melatonin. Make sure all the lights in your baby’s room are off during the night. The only night light that does not inhibit Melatonin production is a red light.
– Overtiredness: When babies become overtired their bodies secrete Cortisol, (the stress hormone) to keep them awake. Cortisol inhibits Melatonin – you can see how these two don’t go very well together.
– Temperature: A cool room will help your baby produce Melatonin. A room which is too warm will inhibit sleep. It’s better to keep your little one’s room cooler and dress your baby warmer than keep your baby’s room warm and dress him lighter.
– A Bath: Bathing your little one increases his core body temperature, it then drops when you take your little one out of the bath, this not only signals to your baby’s body that he is ready for sleep but also encourages the release of Melatonin, helping babies sleep better.