Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner and I’m coming up with a game plan for dealing with this sweet babe of mine and his sleep schedule.
Because if there is one lesson I’ve learned (and RE-learned) it’s that sleep is one of the most important variables in our family life. Children and babies that are well-rested are happy, thriving kiddos—but the baby in our house is the wild card. To help him get a sound night’s sleep, I use a nighttime diaper that is specifically designed for sleep. The nighttime diaper we pick is Huggies OverNites Diapers. “Young children need more sleep and don’t tolerate sleep deprivation as well as adults,”explains Daniel Lewin, Ph.D., associate director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. “The loss of just one hour can really affect a child’s attention span, appetite, and overall mood.” Here’s some tips for a smooth daylight savings transition:
Before the change:
- Don’t just set the clock forward an hour one night and expect your child to get right back in sync; It takes some time to adapt to that loss of sleep. To help adjust, Dr. Lewin suggests gradually shifting your kid’s bedtime earlier in preparation for daylight saving time. So if your child goes to bed at 8 p.m., about four days before the time change, put him to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on until he’s going to bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible. If possible, wake him up a little earlier, as well. “Doing this step-by-step is not as much a shock to the system as it is when you abruptly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the time change,” Dr. Lewin says. “If it’s too difficult to get your child to bed earlier, which is often the case in older kids, then just focus on advancing the wake up time a bit instead.”
- Get some extra sun — and some exercise — the day before and afterthe time change, and even a few days after that. Enjoying the rays for a few extra minutes will help you reset yours and your baby’s system, and the exercise will help you tucker your baby out so you both fall asleep easier at night.The Night Of:
- After you change the clocks, aim to start settling down your baby a little later than you normally would, and try to get him up at the same time you normally would on a Sunday morning — or even a little earlier. It will make it easier to get him to sleep at your usual time on Sunday evening.
- Take the time to help wind your baby down before bed. Consider a warm bath or shower, an extra warm bottle or breast and a relaxing sleepy-time book, along with a hug that settles and soothes and a diaper designed for sleep. If you don’t love Huggies OverNites Diapers as much as we do, Huggies is offering a money back guarantee.*
- Dr. Lewin recommends dimming the lights in your child’s bedroom and turning off all electronics about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. (According to The National Sleep Foundation, such devices can reduce sleep time, sleep quality, and daytime alertness because of the light exposure as well as the fact that they engage the brain right before bedtime.)
- Try to put your baby down to sleep at the same time you normally would, even though you might still feel it’s an hour earlier.
- The sooner you can get back to your “normal” schedule on your own, the better everyone will feel.
In the days following daylight saving time, try to be more forgiving if your child is throwing extra temper tantrums and seems to be particularly frustrated or difficult in any way. “The time change can cause such short-term changes in your child’s mood, but your understanding and support will help him or her adjust a little better,” Dr. Lewin says.
With all the focus on your kid’s sleep, **don’t forget to take care of yourself, too!**Many adults feel sluggish and cranky themselves after the daylight saving time switch, so make sure you’re getting the rest you need as well, so you’re not overly irritable with your child. And remember: These effects are short-lived — within a week or so, everything should be back to normal.
*Huggies OverNites Diapers are designed for sleep and 25 percent more absorbent, so you can give them a hug that settles and soothes without worrying about nighttime leaks. Try Huggies OverNites Diapers at nighttime to experience a sounder sleep, guaranteed. Learn more at Huggies.com. #HugThemAllNite