Time Change and Sleep

Spring Time Change

On Saturday night, March 10, you can go through your house and move your clocks one hour forward. The problem is that your child does not have a button which allows you to adjust their body clock. Spring ahead Daylight Saving Time means you will lose an hour on Sunday, March 11. If your child is already sleep deprived, a lost hour will not help.

If your child is a good sleeper and well-rested, he/she can handle the spring time change. It takes about a week for the body to completely adjust. Keep following the same healthy sleep habits.

If you have a little early bird who is waking up at 5 AM, that will now become 6 AM, which might be more tolerable. That is the Good News.

Bedtime can be the Bad News.  The sun will be up later in the evening making the world pretty bright when you are trying to put your child to sleep. You will be attempting to get your child to bed an hour earlier then their body clock is used to. It will be a bigger challenge for your child to sleep.

Do not allow your child to stay up later hoping they will sleep longer and better. Staying up later has the opposite effect. An overtired child will have more trouble falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep during the night.

When the sun is still bright and your child is not as tired, it is easy to let bedtime slide later. However, morning will still come an hour earlier.  Most of us have a schedule to follow and must be at school or work at the same time each day. We do not have the luxury of sleeping as long as we desire in the morning. If the bedtime slides later and your morning starts as usual, your child will be getting less sleep. This leads to a tired, grouchy child who has difficulty waking up and difficulty learning.

One solution to dealing with Daylight Saving Time is to move the bedtime earlier by 15 minutes every day, starting on Wednesday, March 7. It is helpful to move feedings and naps 15 minutes earlier each day also.  The result is that your child will be ready when you move the clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, March 11.

When should sleep begin for your child?

The most restorative sleep is in the early portion of the night. The sleep cycles at the beginning of the night are longer and deeper than the sleep toward morning.  The deep sleep allows the brain to move previous learning like the many new things your child is discovering each day into long-term memory.

The brain and body are both refreshed during the deep sleep portion of the cycles. I always promote an early bedtime to get the most restorative sleep and the correct amount of sleep your child needs. A well-rested child is a happier and healthier child.

To help move your child’s biological clock earlier for the spring time change, expose your child to morning sun or bright light when they wake in the morning. Avoid the late afternoon sunlight. Begin to dim the lights in your home an hour before bedtime. Keep that last hour before bedtime relaxing and calming to prepare your child’s body for sleep.

Use blackout curtains or blinds to block the light when you are putting your child to bed. The blackout curtains also keep their room dark to prevent waking too early in the morning. Light tells the body to wake up and can interfere with sleep. If your child needs a night light in their room, make sure the light is red or orange which will not interfere with sleep.

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Start your spring with a well-rested child and a well-rested family.

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

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Alix Kron
Alix Kron
4 months ago
We cannot say enough positive things about our experience working with Arlene!! We were desperate for sleep, going almost 5.5 months with frequent wake ups, nursing back to sleep, nonstop crying during the day, screaming in the car and becoming more and more hopeless as time went on without having success … Arlene changed all of that within no time. She listened to exactly what was going on for us, developed a sleep plan specific to our daughter’s needs/our goals and was so supportive and answered all of our questions along the way. It was very easy to follow the plan that she developed and it included naps and weaning off of night feedings. We saw a difference in our daughter almost immediately! Arlene has absolutely transformed our lives and given us the ability to enjoy each other and feel so much better getting the sleep we all want and NEED! Our daughter is now sleeping 11-12 hours per night, eating only once overnight as opposed to every 1-2 hours, is on a great nap schedule and is so much happier!!! It’s the best money we’ve spent.
Adrienne G.
Adrienne G.
2 years ago
We worked with Arlene to sleep train our 22 month old son who had been bed sharing and nursing to sleep. She helped us develop a sleep plan that was specific to our son's needs. It addressed both his nighttime sleep and his naps. It really took the guess work out of the endeavor, because as a parent, even if you read all the sleep books, there are many different opinions and it is hard to know what is right. Arlene was attentive, flexible and available to answer all of our questions and concerns. I would highly recommend working with her! Our son now sleeps 11-12 hours a night and put himself to sleep on his own. Sleep training him has been a game changer for me (I sleep now too!) and for him. He seems well rested and his development seems to be progressing faster now too. His language skills are flourishing since he is getting better rest.
Amanda C
Amanda C
4 years ago
We just wrapped up our second time working with Arlene, and had another great experience! Arlene helped us sleep train our first baby a few years ago when she was 4 months old at the time. She was a terrible sleeper, waking up once every hour and needing to be rocked to sleep for what felt like hours and hours each day. I was a stressed, exhausted, and worried first time mom, and I was drawn to Arlene’s calm and experienced approach. She gave us an option for a gentler strategy that worked for us at the time, and was detailed and responsive in her sleep plan and attentiveness. Our daughter just turned 2.5 years old and is still a great sleeper. So once our second baby turned 4 months recently, we did not hesitate to work with Arlene again. We now have two rockstar sleepers in our household, thanks to Arlene! It means the world to us that she was there to help guide us, instill confidence, and most importantly, help teach our children such a valuable skill they will undoubtedly benefit from for the rest of their lives.
Begoña Cirera
Begoña Cirera
2 years ago
Arlene helped me first with my first son who was 2.5 year old when I hired her. He slept with me during breastfeeding. He never wanted to sleep in his crib. I was due with my second, and I needed better rest, and had no clue how to get him to sleep away from my bed. I even had to sleep w him during naps, or he wouldn’t sleep. I had to walk him for hours to fall asleep every night. It was awful. Two weeks after Arlene helped us create a program for him, he was done!!! He was sleeping in his own room, all night (12+ hours) and he was SO HAPPY during the day. We learned so much, and all made so much sense. After trying methods and books, nothing worked. My son is almost 6, and he falls asleep at 7:30pm every evening, until 7:00am. As a parent, you know how precious those hours are. With my second one, I didn’t make the mistake of waiting until he was two to train him to sleep. By 3 months, we slowly started, with Arlene’s help. I never had to walk him or be there for him to fall asleep. He’s now 3, and he is a great sleeper, much better than his big brother ever was, still takes 90-min naps, and sleeps 11 hours a night. Every penny I spent to hire Arlene’s expertise is worth it. My only regret was not to look for her sooner. Lifesaver, 100%.
Abbey Stidam
Abbey Stidam
6 years ago
Arlene Fryling at Gentle Touch Sleep Time helped our son sleep, which helped us sleep! We were having trouble transitioning our son (4 months at the time) from his rock-n-play to the crib and our amazing sleeper since birth was all of a sudden not sleeping very much. Arlene talked with us about what was going on with his sleep and why the change in his sleep pattern. She answered all our questions and calmed our worries and frustrations. She came up with a sleep plan that worked for our family. She guided us every step of the way. He is now an amazing sleeper again! He is 18 months old and sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap. He loves to sleep and never fights sleeping. I am so thankful we had Arlene Fryling help us and we were able to teach our son to sleep.