The time of year is quickly approaching where we “fall back” and gain a precious hour of sleep...right? The reality is, your baby may be waking up an hour earlier – and for most of us, the normal wake time is already too early! Here's six helpful tips to help make this transition easier.
Plan ahead. Put your baby to bed a little later each night beginning 2-4 days prior to the time change. Example, if bedtime is 7pm, four days out bedtime should be at 7:15, 3 days out at 7:30, 2 days out at 7:45 and 1 day out at 8.
After the time change:
Prioritize naps. Good naps lead to good nighttime sleep. Try to maintain a regular nap schedule but be mindful of your baby’s internal clock (circadian rhythm). Your baby’s naps should be long enough so that they’re restorative but short enough so that nighttime sleep isn’t disrupted. The key is to stay flexible enough to identify when they need to sleep, even if it isn’t exactly when they are “supposed” to nap or go to bed.
Expose your baby to natural sunlight. Early sun exposure, during the morning and late afternoon hours, will help reset your baby’s internal clock and improve their sleep. A word of caution, be mindful that you avoid direct sun between 10 am and 4 pm when ultraviolet rays are at their peak.
Spend time outside. Getting out and about during the day can make for a more restful night. If the weather permits, take a quick walk, head to the playground or out to the backyard. The fresh air will be good for your rest as well!
Maintain a consistent bedtime routine. This can include brushing teeth, a bath, reading a book, cuddling, or listening to soft music just before going to sleep.
Relax in the evening. This means steering your baby or toddler away from any stimulating activity or lively play as bedtime approaches, and instead choosing a calming activity like listening to music or reading a story before putting them to sleep.