Spring Forward, Sleep Less!
Spring is just around the corner! It’s a balmy 9 degrees here in Montreal, just a few more and we’ll all be walking around in t-shirts! Another sure sign of spring is coming is daylight savings time. This yearly ritual punishes us with 1 hour less sleep but on the positive side, our days start getting longer!
For parents, spring forward can be very painful especially if you are already sleep deprived. Kids, especially sensitive sleepers, are at risk of being thrown off by this for a few days up to a week after. There are a few different ways to handle the time change but in all the cases, going to bed a little earlier the night before may be a good idea. Even just 15 mins earlier can make a difference so worth a try!
Plan it Ahead
The first option involves planning ahead. Start moving your child’s schedule forward by 15 mins over a span of 4 to 7 days. This can include the sleep schedule as well as feedings/meals. This option works best for sensitive sleepers; these are kids who do not adjust as well to schedule changes. This way when the day comes, you are already on track.
Go with the Flow
This is the easiest to plan, you just have to do nothing! Keep your child’s schedule exactly the same with the new times. For example if your baby wakes at 7 am usually, then wake them by the NEW 7am and go from there, keeping the schedule the same. This can be great news for parents of those super early waking babies (used to wake at 530 am, now 630 am!)
It will be a bit of an adjustment, naps especially may be a bit of a struggle. Having a soothing and calming routine before a nap will help your child wind down. Maintain your typical sleep expectations and cap naps to protect the next sleep time. For older children, plan for some some quiet time in their room even if they can’t fall asleep right away.
Limiting screens, dimming house lights and quiet activities will help your kids unwind at bedtime. Diminishing sugar and caffeine during the day can also make this process easier.
Split the Difference
This is a bit of a middle ground, which splits the hour difference in half to diminish the impact it has on your child’s schedule. For example, if your child normally wakes at 6, wake them at 630 NEW time (a half an hour early) and slowly adjust to the new times over a couple days.
Daylight Savings means there will be more light in the morning. If you haven’t already, get those blackout blinds! Garbage bags also work, no need to be fancy! Babies sleep best when it is dark in the room as it helps secrete melatonin which is needed for deeper and more restorative sleep.
If you have a toddler, using an ok to wake clock can be helpful to let them know when it is morning and time to get up. (Giving you more well deserved sleep!)
Don’t forget to focus on the whole schedule, not on just one part. (i.e. just bedtime or just lunch).
Happy Spring! Now to wait for all this snow to melt 🙂