2018 Sleep Sleep Tight

Spring Sleep – It’s Not Just the Time Change

March 9, 2018

Spring time is fast approaching, and there are so many reasons to be excited for a warmer and sunnier season. Let’s take a minute to rejoice about more daylight, less snow, and no more wrestling kids into snow gear!  However, things like brighter mornings and moving our clocks forward by one hour typically leaves parents wondering how to keep their little ones sleeping well in the spring.

If you feel like you’ve finally gotten your baby or toddler into a solid sleep routine, it can be stressful to think that something beyond your control can throw it all out of whack! The start of a new season is a great time to do a sleep audit to make sure you are doing what you can to keep your little one well rested, regardless of what Mother Nature is up to.

A Word About the Spring Time Change

While the words ‘time change’ can evoke fear in just about any parent, rest assured, the spring time change is typically easier to handle. If you’re happy with your child’s sleep schedule, simply keep wakeup and bedtime the same using the new adjusted time. It will take a few days for your little one to adjust, but they will fall into it, just as we do.

You can also use a gradual transition approach and adjust waking time slightly earlier than usual, around four to five days before the clocks change. Then, once the clocks do spring forward, your child will have already adjusted to the new times. You can go as far as moving the entire day earlier by at least one hour, including meal times.

Spring Is For The Birds

Yes, the spring time change can have an effect on your child’s sleep, but there is so much more to the sleep story at this time of year.

You’ll need to prepare for:

  • Chirping birds! Birds start chirping as early as 4:00 AM and can continue for several hours. During their dawn chorus, the chirping is usually louder, livelier, and more frequent.
  • Earlier morning sun, making rooms brighter before typical wake up times.
  • Warmer temperatures.
  • Extra light at bedtime, making it harder to wind down.

During the change of season from winter to spring, it’s really important to make sure that your child’s sleep environment is conducive to sleep. Here’s what you can do to combat the early morning wakings, bedtime battles and other challenges that can occur due to seasonal changes.

  1. Use black blinds to keep the early sunrises from brightening up their rooms to early. The blinds will also work double duty helping to make rooms dark at bedtime, regardless of whether the sun is still up.
  2. Start using a toddler alarm clock. You can set it to your desired bedtimes and wake times, making it easier for your child to understand and follow the schedule, even if the environmental cues have changed.
  3. Turn on a white noise machine to drown out chirping birds. More light in the morning also means that people are out about earlier, so a white noise machine can help drown out traffic sounds, construction or barking dogs too.
  4. Adjust the temperature. Lighter pajamas and blankets will help keep little ones cool during sleep times. It may also be time to adjust the thermostat in the house too, as rooms that are too warm at night can increase night wakings.

Now, do you feel ready to welcome spring? By incorporating our sleep suggestions, it will be easier to stick to your normal sleep rules, not pick up any negative sleep habits, and keep everyone in your house sleeping well. Bring on those gorgeous spring days!

 

Alanna McGinn

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