Bouncing, walking, singing, holding - families try everything to help their kiddos, both young and old, to fall asleep! Now, there is a marketplace full of odds and ends that promise healthy sleep. From monitors to apps, lights to toys - you can find it all!
One such gadget is the Moshi Twilight app. This app is described, on it’s website, as a “miraculous audio-only app,” that helps kids “fall asleep independently using enchanting storytelling, magical music and soothing sounds.” It has reached the number one spot for Health and Fitness Apps for iPad and highlighted as “Editors’ Choice” on GooglePlay.
Clearly this app is all your family needs to finally get some sleep, right? Wrong.
As sleep consultants, certified by the Family Sleep Institute, the Well Rested Baby team has some thoughts to share on this popular app that promises healthy, independent sleep.
Ashley WRB Owner, Certified Sleep Consultant
I adore the idea of children experiencing stories, expanding their vocabulary, and pushing their imaginations, but relying on anything other than yourself to fall asleep does not result in healthy, independent sleep. Why not?
When a child relies on anything outside of their control to fall asleep it can be considered a sleep crutch. That is, something they depend on in order to fall asleep. Without the crutch present is can be extremely difficult for a child to fall asleep both at the onset of sleep, but also as they wake overnight. That is the exact opposite of falling asleep independently as the website says.
At Well Rested Baby we recommend white noise as a component of a healthy sleep environment. There is a reason we recommend white noise and white noise only - variations in sound prevents sleep from being fully restorative as our brains are busy processing the sounds. A story, such as shared in the Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories app, is not a consistent sound, like white noise, and as a result does not promote healthy, restorative sleep.
To promote sleep it is important to steer clear of blue light! That is, cool-toned light given off by tablets, phones, and televisions. Our bodies read blue light as natural light, which slows/stops our bodies’ production of melatonin! Melatonin is our bodies natural sleep driver and interfering with it’s production is interfering with health sleep.
It is important to a child’s healthy sleep habits that they believe in their ability to fall asleep. We are all built to sleep and our bodies provide the natural drive to do so. When we ask our children to use apps and other gimmicks to fall asleep, what message are we sending them? We are telling them that they are not capable of falling asleep. Is that what you really believe? Do you really believe that your smart, incredible child isn’t capable of doing something their body is meant to do naturally? What is most likely at play are other long-standing sleep issues that were never resolved and that an app, that can act only as a bandaid, will not fix. Those issues need to be addressed for your child to become a healthy, independent sleeper.
Can a story be a part of a bedtime routine? Absolutely and being read to is an important component to our little one’s sleep, but just as eating, rocking and other activities outside of a child’s control, it should not be a means to sleep.
Kristen Certified Sleep Consultant
At Well Rested Baby some of our primary goals are to teach our little ones how to be independent sleepers, receive the healthiest sleep possible, and to establish a positive relationship with sleep! While the Moshi Twilight Sleep app has some enticing components to it, such as the sweet music and relaxing stories, using the app can create a number of problems for a child's sleep.
No person (children or adults) should be exposed to any form of blue light (which a TV, tablet, or phone screen produces) before bedtime, as it can interfere with our bodies' melatonin production that we need for sound sleep.
Also, when children begin to "need" or rely on the music or stories that the app uses to fall asleep, this in turn creates a sleep association and then the child is no longer an independent sleeper.
If the child is listening to the Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories app while they are already asleep, then they are actually not receiving the most healthy or restorative sleep that they need; this is because the brain continues to recognize and process the sounds that it hears even while the child is asleep, preventing the brain from receiving the rest that it needs.
With that said, if a family wishes to use the Moshi app, or something similar, then I would recommend using it as a part of the pre-sleep routine, as long as the child is only allowed to listen to the stories/music and are not being exposed to the blue light that the screen produces, and then it should be turned off before the child is placed in bed to fall asleep completely independently.
Amanda Certified Sleep Consultant
What makes apps such as the Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories app and other things for “soothing” appealing is they are always backed by “experts!” Who are these experts, what makes them an expert aside from their expert marketing skills.
Other issues I have with this app:
If you have a consistent, soothing bedtime routine your child should not be stressed to be left alone in their beds/rooms as their app/blog suggests. Your child should have a healthy attitude towards sleep and that attitude starts with the parents and caregivers.
The facts that are presented as reasons to sign up are questionable and I would be interested to see actual, sleep-based facts that support the use of this app.
Kids shouldn’t need a fantasy world to carry them away to dreamland. Rather, their body’s natural fatigue and melatonin production should take over and help them fall asleep. . If the bodies "natural fatigue” isn’t taking, over they are probably over tired which is why they are “needing” this app to wind down and bridge the gap to sleep. This can be fixed with an earlier bedtime, not an app.
If children are struggling to settle on their own they were probably never independent sleepers in the first place and there’s a bigger deep rooted problem here that an app cannot fix.
Do we recommend the Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories app? Absolutely not. Instead, we encourage you to focus on your bedtime routine, schedule, and other elements of healthy sleep to allow your child to do what they are absolutely capable of doing - falling asleep independently.