The Surprising Benefits of Letting Danish Babies Sleep Outdoors

In many parts of the world, the notion of letting your baby nap outdoors might seem unorthodox, if not downright bizarre. However, in Denmark—as well as other Scandinavian countries—this practice is not just common; it's considered beneficial and wholly embraced by parents and caregivers. Known colloquially as "sleepout", the tradition of allowing babies to nap in fresh air, irrespective of the season, holds powerful advantages for young children's health and development.

Baby sleeping outdoors

The Roots of the Outdoor Napping Tradition

The tradition of outdoor napping dates back over a century in Scandinavia and has become embedded in the local parenting practices. It starts with a core Scandinavian belief that exposure to fresh air is healthy and invigorating. Thus, parents leave their bundled-up babies in prams or strollers outside their home or even take them to daycares where outdoor napping is a norm.

Health Benefits of Outdoor Sleep

Scientific studies have suggested numerous health benefits associated with this practice. For example, outdoor sleeping in a colder environment is thought to help babies take longer and deeper naps, which is crucial for their rapid development at this stage. The fresh, cool air is also believed to help reduce the risk of catching colds and other airborne illnesses, contrary to popular beliefs about the cold weather.

Moreover, children who nap outdoors are believed to develop a better capacity to adapt to varying temperatures and conditions. The exposure helps them regulate their body’s internal temperature control, which can contribute to improved resistance against conditions like asthma and allergies.

Improving Sleep Quality with the Right Environment

While the fresh air itself is beneficial, the environment where the child sleeps also plays a significant role in the quality of sleep they get. This is where the features of Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtains become crucial, even outdoors. These curtains can create an ideal napping nook by blocking out excessive stimuli such as bright sunlight and providing a cozy darkness that cues the baby's brain that it's time to sleep.

Mother with blackout curtains and baby

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Aside from the physical health benefits, sleeping outdoors also offers mental and emotional advantages. Babies who sleep in natural light cycles are thought to develop healthier circadian rhythms. Enhanced exposure to natural environments can also foster a greater appreciation for nature as children grow, grounding them in a sense of connection to the world around them that urban environments often lack.

Parental Peace of Mind and Routine

For parents, there is also a surprising benefit: peace of mind. Knowing that their baby is getting quality rest enables them to manage their day-to-day tasks more effectively. Furthermore, the routine of preparing a child for outdoor napping—from adequately dressing the baby to setting up the sleeping space—adds a layer of ritual and consistency that further benefits both parents and children.

Scenario in Other Countries

While particularly popular in Denmark and broader Scandinavia, the notion of outdoor sleeping for babies has caught some interest in other countries, particularly those with similar temperate climates. In countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, some daycare facilities offer the option for children to nap outdoors, adopting the Scandinavian model with a belief in its benefits.

Before and after image of room with blackout curtains

Considerations and Safety

Despite the advantages, the practice demands meticulous attention to safety and comfort. Parents need to ensure that the baby is dressed appropriately for the weather, check regularly on the child, and employ use of a baby monitor for added security. Additionally, creating a habitable and secure outdoor sleeping area is essential, shielding the child from potential hazards.


The Danish practice of letting babies sleep outdoors, even in colder weather, offers a myriad of benefits that range from improved sleep quality to enhanced physical and mental health. As this tradition gains more global curiosity, parents worldwide are beginning to see the value in fresh air contributing to their children’s overall well-being. With the right safety measures and environment, "sleepout" might just be a tradition worth embracing far beyond the borders of Denmark.

The key to adapting this practice, no matter where in the world, lies in ensuring that the environment is safe, comfortable, and conducive to sleep, qualities that products like the Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtain can remarkably support.

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