How Dependency Affects Sleep

Having helped over 100,000 families get some much-needed sleep, our Glow Sleep Specialists have learnt as much about what not to do as they have on what works.

One of the most common mistakes we see when helping with bedtime sleep routines, is parents who create dependencies as part of their wind down.

What does this mean?

A dependency might be something that works in the short term but eventually becomes a crutch your child relies on for sleep. This is one of the worst scenarios we encounter, as breaking bad habits often comes with a lot of sleepless nights. These dependencies can follow your child into adulthood, make them one of the 1.5million adult Australians with ongoing sleep issues.

What creates sleep dependencies?

Anything that doesn’t train your child to sleep on their own. This includes:

  • Discernible sounds – There are many products out there sold as sleep aids that play lullabies, allow voice recordings or play any easily recognisable sounds. Unfortunately, these are gimmicks with no real scientific backing, and they can be very detrimental in the long run.


Over a period of time, basing sleep on an identifiable sound will actually create a dependency. If it’s a voice recording of one of the parents, then it creates a reliance and dependency on that parent.  If you are going to use a sound, please use a static pink noise. It doesn’t create a dependency and when used intermittently will teach your child to sleep with noise in the background which is important in the long run. Imagine going through life needing perfect silence for sleep!


  • Touch is one of our most impressionable senses we have. We all know of a child that has become attached to their blankie or stuffed toy. Often children who become attached to these objects become anxious and stressed without them. If you can, please try and avoid introducing these types of touch orientated sleep aids. This is one habit that we often find is extremely hard to break.


  • Night lights that aren’t red LED. There are so many night lights out there and most of them use a regular type bulb which prudes light on the blue spectrum. The blue spectrum is what our phones produce and is, at present day, considered one of the main reasons our bodies no longer produce enough melatonin (our natural sleep hormone). Regular nightlights can also create a fear of the dark. Red LED light’s help counteract blue light and stimulates our natural melatonin production. It can help children who fear the dark initially, but the duller red light allows for a level of darkness. We then also recommend that after 3mths you start using the red light intermittently. This will help stop creating a dependency. Also, the body learns to produce melatonin at the right time on its own after around 3mths.

How do we know all this?

Glow Dreaming is committed to working with the world’s leading sleep experts and researchers. Glow Dreaming has now helped over 60,000 families get some much-needed sleep. Over the last three years we have compiled an extensive database of sleep information. In fact, it is one of - if not the biggest - sleep databases in Australia. We’ve recently introduced our own proprietary sleep algorithm and an artificial intelligence engine to help better understand the information in our database which allows us to better impact your child’s sleep.


Sleep is no longer a one size fits all solution and we are proud to be a world leader in bringing sleep to those who need it most. Visit our website for more information.

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