Make The End of Daylight Savings Suck A Little Less
HOW TO AVOID THAT EARLY MORNING HOUR
Before becoming parents, do you remember the day where the end of Daylight Savings was a gift from heaven and you got that extra hour of sleep!?! Now, as parents, the words Daylight Savings means something completely different because our little ones don’t know the power of this extra hour.
Your little one likes to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Yep, it’s now 5am instead of 6am. Well, when they don’t know any different, I guess we can’t really blame them. But, we can help them get there by shifting a few simple things to make for a smoother transition.
If you already have a good thing going with nighttime sleep and naps (way to go!). This will really help you.
If your little one isn’t sleeping well yet, then this might be a good time to start some healthy sleep habits. And if you are doing this for the first time, it only feels scary and daunting because you haven’t done it before (like most firsts). It can take a week or two for your little one to adjust as long as you’re CONSISTENT, so be patient and be prepared. Most importantly, don’t give up.
Now, here’s how to avoid that early hour altogether…
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Know Your Baby’s Style
No, not clothes… I’m referring to sleep temperament. Is your little one more of a sensitive sleeper or a flexible sleeper?
Sensitive Sleepers — Babies more susceptible to changes in sleep environment, routine, or schedule. They need more predictability in their schedules and more reliable nap/bedtime routines.
For sensitive sleepers, it’s important to adjust sleep time in small increments. Smaller increases of 15min later every two days often works well for sensitive sleepers. This just means the week before we lose that hour, put your little one down for bed 15 minutes later than usual on the first night. Here’s an example using 8:30am +12:30pm for naps 1 and 2, and 7:00pm as bedtime.
Flexible Sleepers — Babies are more likely to go with the flow, be able to sleep on the go, in new places, and not skip a beat with new changes and environments.
For flexible sleepers, you have a little more leeway. You can definitely choose to do a similar approach to sensitive sleepers, or you can just change the schedule over 3 days (starting Thursday and push bedtime 20 minutes later every day).
Or if you’re little one is SUPER flexible, you can even go cold turkey. This just means on the morning of the time change, you will wake up super early with your little, but then stretch nap/bedtime to the new clock time. So a nap time of 12:30pm is still 12:30pm, and bedtime of 7:00pm is still 7:00pm (or as close as you an get).
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In adjusting to the new time, we also have to think about all the other daily routines during the day and shift those too.
If you are gradually adjusting the week before or a few days before, move mealtime and activities too!
The WHOLE day needs to shift. Just like your little’s sleep schedule, did you know their hunger metabolism revolves around sleep too? So, if you don’t adjust mealtimes with the new sleep times, it will be more challenging for sleep to shift.
Our little ones thrive on routine, so the more consistent you are with the day, the easier it will be for them to adjust.
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Use Light + Darkness
With the early evening becoming darker sooner, use light during the day and in your home to your advantage.
Research has shown that light and darkness can really help with conquering those sleep challenges.
Once it’s time to get up in the morning, let the light in for your little one. Remember, this adjustment is about shifting your little one’s circadian rhythms (aka sleep rhythm).
Go outside if you can — go for a walk, go to the park, take a trip to the mailbox, run errands — whatever you need to do to get sunlight exposure. This will actually help with melatonin production for the nighttime (… that powerful sleep hormone we produce).
Then, in the early evening when it’s starting to get darker out, turn on those indoor lights and don’t be shy about them. It might be harder for your little one to stay up a little later at first, but having those lights on in the house will most definitely help.
Also, get creative in those hard to stay awake moments if you need to — turn on some music and dance around, have a little bit longer of bath time — whatever you need to do to extend the time. Then once your bedtime routine comes around, remember to dim those lights again to set the stage for sleep time.
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What Not To Do
Remember, it can take up to 2 weeks for your little one to adjust. So be patient and stay the course. Do NOT think about what time it was yesterday. This is the biggest mistake we can make. Don’t do it. If you do, you are going to get stuck chasing your little one’s sleep and things can get all out of whack. Think… Out with the old time and in with the new time!
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have a plan of attack in advance, so you can stick with it. Since Daylight Savings is just around the corner, commit to a plan now, so come that Sunday morning, you’re not saying, “Oh crap! It’s so early!”
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If you need help with daylight savings or want to start setting healthy sleep habits now, go here to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me, and we can chat about it!
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Oh, one more thing!
Every other week I share 5 things on how you and your little can get the most out of their first 5 years of life in my newsletter — The Healthy Little Note.
If you have little ones, I’m sure you’ll love it!
You can check out the most recent issue here.
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