Daylight Savings - What to Do About Your Little One's Sleep
Daylight savings is just around the corner... literally. Yep, next weekend on Sunday March 13th we will be springing forward! I remember being so concerned about time change and how it would effect my little one's sleep. The good news is that Spring forward is the easy one to work with because the later hour is helpful if you have an earlier riser!! While adjustments in your baby's sleep can be challenging, I'm here to provide you with some different ways to approach Daylight Savings. You can decide which way may be the best for your little one... consistency in your approach will help with the smoothest transition. Here are a few different options you can choose from to get your little one on the new "clock"...
1. You can start 1 week ahead of the actual time change and adjust your little ones schedule 15 minutes every two days. For example, if your baby's bedtime is 7pm, you would put your baby down at 6:45pm on Monday and Tuesday, and get him/her up for the day at 6:45am. And then adjust naps by the same 15 minutes, as well. Then Wednesday and Thursday your baby's bedtime would be at 6:30pm and wake time 6:30am. Friday and Saturday 6:15pm and 6:15am. And then once you get to Sunday, you're back on a 7am to 7pm schedule. The slight downside to this option is you are getting up a little earlier yourself for this one week period.
2. You can also do the same method discussed above but in 3 days. Instead of every 2 days, each day you would move the clock 15 minutes. So you can start on Thursday and hit the ground running on Sunday March 13th.
3. The other option is to go cold turkey. You do everything as you normally would, but on Sunday Match 13th you get your little ones up for the day at 7am (which is actually 6am - yikes, i know). They will actually be losing an hour of sleep that night... and maybe there is some wiggle room for 15 minutes, but you really want to stay as close to the timing as possible, so naps don't get disrupted too. I have typically opted for this approach with my own kids, but you make the decision that's right for you and your kids. You know your babies/kids best! If you're not sure how your little will adjust, you may want to take a more gradual approach, as discussed above.
4. If your little one doesn't go to daycare or preschool or nanny-share on Monday, you can also start the gradual approach on Sunday. Something like the 3 day gradual approach outlined in option 2 would work here, as well.
A couple additional tips:
Take your little one out in the morning to get some sunshine… this will help with adjusting to the new time by re-setting his/her circadian rhythms which are set by the rising and setting of the sun.
- Make sure your baby's room is dark. With our days becoming longer and staying lighter longer, it’s important to use blackout shades. Too much light effects the natural production of melatonin – the naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that helps with sleep. So, in the evenings it's best to keep the lights low and room dark.
If you're thinking about getting your little one to be a more consistent sleeper now that Daylight Savings is here, there is no better time than now (whatever approach you want to take)... especially since s/he may by waking later in the morning now.