Fall is right around the corner, parents! And I, for one, cannot wait to exchange the heat and humidity of summer for the crisp chill and beautiful leaves of fall. Warm sweaters, pumpkin-flavored foods, hot apple cider…fall is my favorite!
If you have a baby at home, though, the weather won’t be the only thing that changes this fall. You may notice some changes in your baby’s sleep, too. But not to worry – we have got you covered! We’ll tell you what changes to expect, and how to deal with them.
3 Ways Your Baby’s Sleep May Change This Fall
- Shorter Days May Affect Bedtime. As days get shorter and nights get longer this fall, you may notice that your baby’s bedtime becomes a little earlier. This is normal; our circadian rhythms (the signals that tell our brain when it is time to be awake, and when it is time to sleep) are closely connected to light. So when the sun sets earlier, it’s natural for your baby to want to go to bed earlier.
This will not necessarily be a problem. However, if you find that the earlier bedtimes are causing your baby to wake earlier, you may need to take action and shift your baby’s schedule a bit.
- Nighttime Sleep May Get Longer. The long, bright days of summer are fun, but they can cause babies and toddlers to sleep less at night. Bedtimes tend to be later in the summer, and since the sun comes up early, our kids tend to get up early, too! But starting in the fall, you may find that your baby is sleeping more at night.
This can be a great thing, particularly if your baby missed out on long nighttime sleep over the summer. However, if your baby is sleeping more at night, you may find that his naps are affected. That can happen because a baby’s overall sleep amounts tend to remain the same from day to day, so if more of that sleep is happening at night, then less will happen during the day. If that’s a problem, then you may need to work on naps by shortening your baby’s nighttime sleep, leaving more sleep available for nap time.
- Cooler Temperatures Can Mean Deeper Sleep. Here is a fun fact for you: all of us (little ones and adults alike) tend to sleep more deeply when the temperature is cool. The optimum temperature for sleep will vary from person to person, of course, but a good temperature to aim for is right around 68 degree Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). It can be hard to keep room temperatures that cool in the summer, but as fall temps cool off, you may find that your baby begins to sleep more deeply and soundly.
This is great, of course – something else to love about fall! Just be sure not to compensate for these cool temps by dressing baby too warmly for bed. Do that, and you risk making your baby too warm at night; that, in turn, can make her sleep more restless and fragmented. For ideas about how to properly dress your baby for bed, check out this article.
How are you preparing for changes to your baby’s sleep? Share your tips with us!
Any change in your baby’s sleep can present challenges. Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.