It is easy to overlook the sensation of touch when planning our children’s bedtime routines. We know that dim lights and soft soothing noises are conducive to easy sleep, but what role does the comfort of touch play in this process? It turns out that it is an essential component, and its qualities and importance change with age. When choosing the right Cloud b touch product for your baby, consider these three components of optimally healthy sleep.
In 1953, the famous pediatrician and psychoanalyst, D.W. Winnicott introduced the idea of “transitional objects,” which young children use to cope with and understand separation from other people (primarily the mother) and other things in the world. Winnicott started with the idea that babies are born unable to tell the difference between themselves and the world.(1) It all appears to them as one unified whole. The transitional object helps babies and children “transition” from this state of oneness to a new state of having a relationship with people and things in the world.
Transitional objects can be used throughout the day but they are most often used, and used most intensely, during times of high anxiety, like bedtime.(2) This is because moments of anxiety for babies and young children are almost always moments of separation.(3) And while the transitional object can take most any form, it has common features, according to Winnicott: “It must seem to the infant to give warmth, or to move, or to have texture, or to do something that seems to show it has a vitality or reality of its own.” Above all, the child must be in control of it.
Cloud b touch products are designed to fill all of these functions. The warmth of the LullaWrap, the texture of the Sleep Sheep, and the liveliness of our entire animal line of products all provide babies and children with the ideal features of a perfect transitional object.
Warm Covers/Cool Room
An extensive body of research shows that there is a mild drop in body temperature right around the time we fall asleep, and that our brain wants to keep this temperature throughout the night.(4,5) Warm baths and massages work well before bedtime because they raise body temperature which in turn causes the body to release a lot of heat right before it’s time to sleep.(6) This means the body will be nice and cool as it falls asleep.
In order to maintain this perfect cool temperature without getting too cold throughout the night, experts recommend that children’s rooms be around 68 degrees and children be covered in a comfortable blanket.(7,8) For infants and young children, Cloud b’s LullaBags are a perfect choice: the generously sized arm openings provide ventilation to regulate body temperature, the all-around two-way zipper provides easy and quiet access, the wide bottom allows for maximum movement, and the moderate weight and thickness makes it easy to add or remove layers of warmth to achieve your child’s optimal sleep temperature.
It has long been known that nighttime causes a lot of anxiety for young children.(9) Most researchers point to fear of the dark and separation from parents as central sources of anxiety.(10) Managing these anxieties, they say, is the key to creating the ideal sleep experience for your child.
Getting the temperature right for your child and finding the right transitional object are major steps toward creating an environment that decreases anxiety. But the most important aspect, experts say, is the level of control children feel over their bedtime experience.(8,11) With Cloud b touch products, your child is able to access the comforting touch of a Plush Pillow Ladybug or the cuddly softness of a Giant Sleep Sheep in the way that feels right to them. Our products can be moved, manipulated, turned on and off, and transformed in a variety of ways.
The Power of Touch
Holding, squeezing, petting, and hugging are vital acts of self-soothing that lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy sleep. When choosing the right Cloud b touch product for your child, remember that every sensation is a potential pathway to a healthy night’s sleep.
1. Winnicott, D. W. (1953). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena; a study of the first not-me possession. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 34: 89-97.
2. Mahalski, P. A. et al. (1985). Children’s attachment to soft objects at bedtime, child rearing, and child development. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 24(4), 442-446.
3. Kushnir, J. & Sadeh, A. (2012). Assessment of brief interventions for nighttime fears in preschool children. European Journal of Pediatrics, 171(1), 67-75.
4. Glotzbach, S. F. & Heller, H. C. (1976). Central nervous regulation of body temperature during sleep. Science (New York, N.Y.), 194(4264), 537-539.
5. Raymann, R. J. et al. (2007). Skin temperature and sleep-onset latency: Changes with age and insomnia. Physiology & Behavior, 90(2-3), 257-66.
6. Kanda, K. et al. (1999). Bathing before sleep in the young and in the elderly. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 80(2), 71-75.
7. Galland, B. C. & Mitchell, E. A. (2010). Helping children sleep. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95(10), 850-853.
8. Gruber, R. et al. (2011). Sleep health education in pediatric community settings: Rationale and practical suggestions for incorporating healthy sleep education into pediatric practice. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 58(3), 735-54.
9. Ivanenko, A. & Larson, K. (2013). Nighttime distractions: Fears, nightmares, and parasomnias. In The Oxford Handbook of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Sleep and Behavior, 347.
10. Kushnir, J. & Sadeh, A. (2012). Assessment of brief interventions for nighttime fears in preschool children. European Journal of Pediatrics, 171(1), 67-75.
11. Hill, C. (2011). Practitioner review: Effective treatment of behavioural insomnia in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52(7), 731-740.