Does teaching babies to sleep in the dark spoil their chances of being able to fall/stay asleep in dim or lit environments later in life?

No. That is a common misconception.


If your baby is able to sleep in loud, bright places- fantastic, you have an easier baby than some others. It’s fine. If you struggle to get your baby to sleep, that is a different story. A baby sleeps easier in a completely dark room. Just like adults. Especially after the vision changes and they can see farther across the room. The lights from a night light, window, baby monitor are all distracting and stimulating…”What’s that bright thing?” Moms who notice the baby is staring at them through the monitor, that baby is captivated by the little 

light on the camera. Once your baby is a good sleeper, then you can introduce more challenging sleep situations. They are likely going to be much more flexible. Nights and Naps are different and one can never get it as dark for a nap as you can for the night but any darker that you can get it, is likely going to help. Your body has a circadian rhythm, (a clock) which drives the need for sleep.  It is reset each day by light exposure starting around 4 months old. It’s essential that we experience a regular light dark cycle in order to maintain appropriate sleep at night.  That’s not saying we need to nap in the light.  During daytime waking hours, be in the light starting with light exposure first thing.  During naps and night time, stay in the dark. This means that if your baby wakes up at night, try to keep him in the dark or very low light.

Erin Flynn-Evans (PhD in sleep and circadian physiology) says “the bright daytime sun is quite able to invade a napping child’s room during the day. There isn’t a circadian need to have a dark room during the day, however, in order to avoid an inappropriately short nap it is absolutely key that a napping child’s room is cool, dark and quiet. A dark room can mean the difference between a 30 minute nap and a two hour nap. If your child only gets a 30 minute nap, but really needs a two hour nap, everyone will pay the price. An un-rested child will have more difficulty going to sleep at night, will wake up more frequently during the night, and will exhibit negative behaviors such as crankiness and inappropriate reactions to situations while awake.”

A dark room helps your baby sleep longer.  Once your baby has good sleep skills, they are likely going to be more flexible to unusual situations like hotel rooms, air planes, and restaurants.  I have seen this happen over and over again.  A mom tells me her child won’t sleep longer than 30 minutes.  The first thing I want to know is where the baby is napping?  Often the answer is in a playpen or a swing in the living room.  TV on, toddler playing nearby.  I suggest she try putting the play pen or the swing in the baby’s room where it is dark and quiet and see if that helps.  It usually does.  That may not be all she needs to do but it’s a good start.

You nap and sleep better in a dark, quiet room.  It’s the same for your baby.

I believe in using evidenced based methods that are gentle and backed by science.  If you need sleep help, sleep consultations offered in person and over the phone.  Contact me for a free 15 min sleep assessment.

Tracy Spackman


Certified Gentle Sleep Coach



Nap Transitions

Questions Asked:
My daughter Ayven is 17 months and has been a great sleeper thanks to you! We are now transitioning to 1 nap – any tips on the best way to do this and is there a best time for that once a day nap? Rises at 6:30 bed at 7pm used to nap 9-945 (we’d wake her) and then in the afternoon going down between 1:30 and 3 depending on our plans for the day and would usually nap 1.5-2 hours. Any tips would be appreciated!

My Answer:
The afternoon nap may lengthen. One way to transition is to drop the am nap and switch it to a cat nap (20-30 min). 1 pm may be a good time for your afternoon nap. The transition period can be long and there are a few ways to do it but this is my favorite one to try first.
If you need sleep help, I do personal consultations.

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610

“My 2 year old was a great sleeper and now for the past 2 weeks has been having sleep issues. Why?”

Great Question from my Mom’s club talk:
“My 2 year old was a great sleeper and now for the past 2 weeks has been having sleep issues. Why?”
This is a common question. Sometimes, you just get a string of bad luck when you have even just 2 nights in a row of disrupted sleep, from maybe a cold or thunderstorms or summer guests and your response of bringing to bed with your of staying with them while they fall asleep is enough to create a new “conditioned response”. If toddlers, or older children have 2 or more disrupted nights in a row, they may start getting anxious about sleep. After 2 weeks has gone by, you may have forgotten the cause of the sleep stress. A manners chart to help focus on good sleep habits may help a lot. If you need sleep help, call me, Text me.

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610

Back to School Bedtimes

Have your kids gone back to school? Planning to go soon? Take a good look at their bedtime. Do you know if your child is a 10, 11 or 12 hour sleeper for optimum benefit? If your child has a meltdown about having to write a few sentences about their summer for homework, chances are they are not getting enough sleep. Thinking of ideas to write about when writing is still a challenge for kindergarten-3rd grade kids, getting enough sleep can make all the difference. 11 hours is a common amount of sleep to need for young school aged kids. Teens typically need 9 hours. If you need sleep help, check out my website.

Not ready to commit to a plan or a sleep package?

Get a group together and we can do a group workshop. Minimum 5 people/couples. This would be different than the free talk I give to Mom’s groups. We will talk specifics and methods that you can implement immediately. If you have 5 or more people, the host gets to come free. $50 per family. Runs about 2 hours. Follow up support is available a la crate.

Workshop fee will be deducted from full package price if you choose to get a personal consultation afterwards.

A good sleep makes a world of difference.

Tracy Spackman


Reaction of a 5 Year Old

A 5 year old’s morning response to sleep coaching day 6 after lots of resisting last night, “That was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks!” Mom said, “That was the best sleep you have had in your life!”
I know it’s only going to get better for them.  This family has had trouble with sleep for a long time and needed to lay with their child to help her fall asleep and she repeatedly came to their bed in the middle of the night.  Sound familiar?

For sleep help, call me 602-524-7610, email me

Is it too late to sleep coach your child?

A common question I get asked is “Is it too late to sleep train my child?”
Well, if your child is 40, maybe you need more than my help. Lol.
But seriously, 6-9 months is the easiest (4.5 – 6 months can be easier if you are very careful and use specialize responsive methods like I do).  If you are using a book technique, don’t do it before 6 months please.
Then it starts to get harder the longer you wait.
2 year olds can be a real challenge but I have a great method for them that works great with time and patience.
5 year olds can even do it.
I have had success with a few 12 year olds too.
If you are ready for a sleep change, call me. 602-524-7610
Hundreds of more families are getting much better sleep after working with me.

My latest question was “How exactly do you help us get sleep?”

My latest question was “How exactly do you help us get sleep?” Great Question! First I can give you a free call for a few minutes to talk about what is going on with your child’s sleep. Then, you choose a package from my website, I send you a sleep history questionnaire to fill out to add to the details I got from you over the phone so I can get a good overview of your sleep situation. Then I create a personalized sleep plan for you giving you step by step instructions to follow to get you to sleeping through the night or whatever your goals are. We will then have a consultation in person or over the phone. Then, the day after you start your plan, we talk about how the first night went and further personalize the plan depending how it went. Then we continue to talk and email and skype and text as you go through your plan. The amount of support you have during your plan implementation depends on the support package you buy. Yes, you can start small and upgrade.
I teach you how to teach your child how to get good sleep. You will learn how to support and respond in a manner that progresses towards good sleep skills. It’s gentle, responsive and scientific. I use evidence based methods that are proven to work. I have been there with children who don’t sleep. I have personally experienced most of the scenarios my families bring to me. I wish I had a sleep coach when my children were young. I have 5 children and although that certainly helps me be a good sleep coach, I am extensively trained and my success track record is amazing.

Radio Guest on Baby & Toddler Instructions Show with Blythe Lipman

Today I made my first radio appearance. I was a little nervous but once I start talking about sleep I just get on a roll.  You can hear the podcast here .

I was a guest on Blythe Lipman’s show Baby & Toddler Instructions which broadcasts on on Wednesdays at 11am EST.  Or 8am Arizona time.  We talked about the common things that keep babies from sleeping, what I do, how I do it.  Who needs me and who doesn’t and funny stories about sleep coaching.  I’m a gentle sleep consultant which means I don’t use Cry It Out.

You can find me at

Tracy Spackman