With daylight savings time just around the corner, that means we lose an hour of sleep, but for your baby this can mean another monkey wrench thrown into his/her sleep schedule. If you have an early riser you may be getting excited about your baby waking an hour later. But it may not be that simple. Your baby's internal sleep clock helps put her to sleep at a certain hour, and helps wake her up at pretty much the same time each morning. So it may be a little difficult to put your baby to sleep at the usual bedtime, and have her wake an hour later in the morning. To help make daylight savings time an easy transition for your baby, follow these 3 simple tips.
- Prepare for daylight savings time, ahead of time. You will have to change your baby's entire daytime schedule, not just bedtime. So for the 6 days prior to daylight savings, shift your baby's schedule by 10 minutes each day until you reach the full hour. This will give your baby a chance to adjust, without a drastic change in his/her sleep schedule. A young baby, or a baby that doesn't adjust well to change, will not be able to handle an hour time change easily. Prepare your baby slowly and ahead of time. If you haven't had enough time to prepare ahead of time, no worries, you can even do this post time change.
- Get ready to deal with some bedtime troubles. As I mentioned your baby's internal clock is set to get her ready for bed at a certain hour. With daylight savings time, you will be putting your baby down an hour earlier than she usually goes down. The new 7pm bedtime, will actually be 6pm prior to the time change. Meaning your baby will most likely have a hard time falling asleep that early. For your baby, all of this feels sort of like jet lag. It will take about a week for your baby's internal clock to be reset to the new schedule. Helping your baby settle for the night by dimming the lights and creating a calm and quiet environment before bed will be important.
- Get some good blackout blinds. With daylight savings time, comes more light during the evening hours. If your baby was falling asleep in the pitch dark, it may be really difficult for him/her to fall asleep with even the slightest light coming in. Also, light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps your baby sleep, making the room nice and dark will help tremendously.
Daylight savings time is not as stressful in the spring, as it is in the fall when you have to change your clocks back an hour. Nonetheless, some babies still have a bit of a hard time. Making sure you prepare ahead of time and gradually shift your baby's sleep schedule, will help the transition go more smoothly.