Daylight Savings & Baby Sleep: A Guide
Little Yawn Collective - Mar 25, 2022
You can see the signs of spring slowly emerging. Young, green leaves are growing on the bare trees. Bumblebees are making appearances helping to pollinate flowers and other plants.
The days are also starting to get a little longer day by day. You also catch yourself not needing your thick winter coat as often. As we transition to spring, one of the most highly contested marks of the spring occurs: daylight savings time.
No matter if you are pro-daylight savings time or anti-daylight savings time, the fact is that our clocks will be springing forward an hour. This will give us darker mornings and longer light into the evenings.
How To Overcome Daylight Savings Time Struggles
Daylight savings time brings its own set of struggles for everyone. While it is nice to have a later sunset to enjoy more of the evening hours, waking up while it is still dark can make it even harder to get up in the mornings.
If you have a set bedtime, you may not feel tired at the time you normally go to bed as you would generally have an extra hour. This can start to cause the unpleasant cycle of staying up late and waking up early, which we know is hard to get back on track.
Your baby may also experience their own sleep struggles with the time change. The time change shifts the amount of light and hours during the day, which can cause circadian rhythms to become misaligned.
Our circadian rhythms are our body’s internal clock. This clock helps our body know when to signal that we are hungry and manages our body’s energy. Most importantly, circadian rhythms help to regulate our awake and sleepy times.
Circadian rhythms are affected by the amount of light we are exposed to, so more light in the evening hours causes our circadian rhythm to keep us in awake-mode longer. In fact, exposure to darkness helps trigger our body into making and releasing natural melatonin, which helps us unwind and feel sleepy.
You may think that just changing the clocks by one little hour cannot possibly misalign your circadian rhythm off track.
However, researchers have found that sleep-related issues such as insomnia occur more often during time changes compared to the rest of the year. These changes also see more of an uptick when we spring forward an hour in the spring than when we fall back an hour.
Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time
When it comes to your baby’s bedtime, you go by the clock rather than what the amount of light is outside. Now that there is more light in the evening, your baby may want to stay awake longer in the evening hours and sleep later in the mornings until the sun comes up.
Your baby sleeping an hour later in the morning isn’t conducive to most of our schedules. Being proactive and adjusting your baby’s schedule before the time change takes effect can keep your baby on track, as you may experience some resistance from your baby if you try to put them to bed an hour early.
However, you can still adjust your baby’s schedule even if Daylight Savings Time caught you by surprise this year. Let’s look at a couple of ways to help your baby adjust to Daylight Savings Time.
Slowly Adjust Bedtime
If you can be proactive, you can gradually adjust your baby’s bedtime over a few days in preparation for Daylight Savings Time. If your baby goes to bed at 7 pm and you start their bedtime process at 6 pm, aim to start the process at 5 pm instead and shoot for a 6 pm bedtime.
For example, on day one, start the process at 5:45 pm, then the next day at 5:30 pm. Start day three at 5:15 pm, and day four at 6 pm. While you adjust the bedtime process, you also adjust the wake-up process in the morning, waking up your baby by the same increment you started their bedtime routine. Once the clocks jump forward, you’ll be right back on schedule.
Adjust Exposure to Light
If Daylight Savings Time crept up on you this year, don’t fret. Your baby’s sleep schedule will not be ruined. Controlling your baby’s exposure to light can help keep your baby’s circadian rhythm from throwing off their bedtime.
Start to lower the amount of light in the house an hour before you want to begin your child’s bedtime routine. Dim the lights and close the curtains throughout the house. It may be worthwhile to invest in solar blocking curtains in your baby’s room. The evenings will only get longer as we move towards summer, and keeping light out will be important to enforce normal bedtime hours. Remember that darkness is the trigger that lets your baby’s body know that it is time to get ready for bed.
Also, begin to cut out the use of any electronic devices earlier than normal. The blue light that screens emit can also affect our circadian rhythms, preventing your baby from winding down. Instead, you can do quiet activities with your baby to help them feel calm and relaxed before their bedtime routine. Read stories or play quietly with soft toys.
While it is still dark, expose your baby to bright lights to promote wakefulness in the morning hours. No one likes to be greeted in the morning with a bright light directly in their face, so you can put on dim lights and gradually brighten them.
Adjust Nap Times
Adjust your baby’s nap times to your adjustments on their bedtime. Nap times are a little easier to adjust as your baby will likely feel tired two or three hours after their initial wake-up time.
When it comes to your baby’s last nap of the day, be sure that your baby is awake with enough time to get sleepy again before being laid down for the night. Depending on your baby’s particular sleep schedule and age, this could range from an hour or two hours before bedtime.
Consistent Bedtime Routine
No matter the time of the year, having a consistent bedtime routine is the best way to ensure that your baby is instilled with healthy sleep habits and has quality sleep.
Little Yawn Collective is your friend in this department.
We offer melatonin-free sleep help specially formulated for children that perfectly fit your child’s bedtime routine.
Incorporate the Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula and Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter to your child’s bedtime routine. Our products are gentle and help your baby feel cozy, snoozy, and happy.
We know that bedtime can be hard, but choosing the right products for your baby doesn’t have to be. Check us out and see how our science-backed sleep solutions can help you and your little buddy rest easy.
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