Spring Ahead Without Falling Behind on Sleep
Daylight Savings this Sunday, March 13
Before bed, turn clocks ahead 1 hour. If your child normally sleeps till 6:30 AM, the next morning she will likely sleep till 7:30 AM. Her entire schedule – naps and bedtime – will then shift one hour later.
If you’re happy about this change, great! Just protect her room from too much light in the early morning (use room-darkening shades if necessary), and use white noise so she won’t wake with the birds.
If you’d rather help your child get back to her usual schedule, try the following:
1. Put your child down at her regular bedtime, say 7:30 PM, on Saturday night.
2. Set your alarm for 6:30 AM (according to the new clock) and wake your child at this time. To her, it will feel like it’s 5:30 AM, but don’t worry. She’ll be tired, but she’ll adjust.
3. If your child naps, put her down at her normal nap time according to the new clock and resume a normal schedule from there. Don’t allow her to nap longer than usual.
4. On Sunday night, put her down at her usual bedtime according to the new time.
Excerpt from The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep — from Birth to Age 5.
A FEW MORE TIPS to help you and your little one sleep as late as possible after the time change:
* Because the birds and the sun wake up so early in the spring, and because the brain can begin to wake for the day with even minimal natural light coming into the room, make sure your child’s room is VERY dark in the morning (10 on a 10 scale).
* Because the sun also stays up later as we move from spring toward summer, make sure your child’s bedtime doesn’t slide past her optimal window (see our website for sample schedules by age). If your child begins waking early as the days get longer, adjust bedtime earlier by 10-15 minutes per night, over several nights, to see if your child can sleep longer in the morning (yes, earlier to bed often means LATER to wake up). Don’t move bedtime too much earlier too quickly, or she won’t be tired enough to go to sleep.
* Ensure your child is going down AWAKE at bedtime. If you’ve gotten lax about this, let there be no question in your mind about whether she’s asleep or awake as you’re leaving the room. On a 10 scale, 10 being awake, she should be a 9-10!
Jill and Jenn
Jennifer Waldburger, MSW
Jill Spivack, LCSW
Cofounders, Sleepy Planet
Creators, The Sleepeasy Solution