Daylight Savings is kicking in again on Sunday, this time in the dreaded “spring forward” edition. With an hour of sleep to “lose,” we caught up with family sleep expert Sasha Carr, Ph.D., for tips on helping little ones get better sleep.
1. If your baby has a precarious temperament or is still used to multiple naps and feedings every day, gradually adjust his or her schedule over a few days, in increments as small as 15 or 30 minutes. For older children who either nap once per day or not at all, or with children with a more adaptable temperament, Dr. Carr suggests taking the “band-aid” approach–a singular, swift change of the clock without the gradual transitioning.
2. Adapt your child’s entire schedule (not just bedtimes and waking up) to adjust to the transition can also be helpful. That means eating dinner and taking baths earlier, too. However, Dr. Carr still recommends “making the switch on Friday night or Saturday morning rather than Sunday, just to give everyone an extra weekend day to adjust to the change. This is especially helpful if your child is in school.”
3. The amount of light you’re exposed to affects your alertness, so try exposing your family to more bright light in the mornings and dimming the lights or drawing the curtains when it gets closer to bedtime. Even when you’re not adjusting to a different sleep schedule, this is generally conducive to good sleep hygiene.
4. It’s almost spring! As Dr. Carr reminds us, “the sun shows up earlier in the morning and sticks around longer into the evening, [especially] the further north you live.” If you have light-sensitive sleepers, invest in some blackout curtains so that the family doesn’t rouse too early. Plus, they’ll help keep the house warm if a random springtime blizzard hits the city.
Sasha Carr, Ph.D. is a certified child sleep consultant by the Family Sleep Institute and founder of Off To Dreamland. She believes that healthy sleep is essential the whole family, especially mothers who often neglect their own sleep. All members of her family, whether two or four-legged, enjoy the benefits of a good night’s rest.