This past Saturday evening, those of us here in the U.S. said goodbye to Daylight Savings Time and turned our clocks back an hour. And those of you who live in Europe did it a week earlier.
Regardless of where you live, however, if you’re the parent of a small child, you know that DST can be maddening (all the non-parents or parents to older children rave about the extra hour they get — yeah right!). That little one hour difference in time can really wreak havoc your child’s sleep schedule. Suddenly, your baby’s up and raring to go at 5 a.m. instead of her usual 6 a.m.
Not the way mom and dad would choose to start the day, right? But who can blame her? After all, just a few days ago, 5 a.m. WAS 6 a.m.
Options To Help Parents Cope With DST
Fact: We can’t exactly alter our children’s inner clocks immediately. Fortunately, though, we don’t have to take the aftermath of DST lying down, either — we have options!
A few years ago, Nicole wrote this article for Working Mother, in which she laid out a number of strategies exhausted parents can use to help their babies and toddlers adjust to the time change. And we’ve written about coping with DST here on our own blog before, too — check out this article for more ideas about ways you can manage those first few weeks after turning the clocks back.
“We are already getting questions in the Helpdesk about adjusting the kids’ schedules, including why we need to change our clocks anyway! Read this article for an explanation and discussion on whether it does, in fact, save energy.”
An Unconventional Option — The Sunrise Simulator Alarm Clock
But just when we think we’ve shared all there was about Daylight Savings, our fabulous readers share their own! That happened a few weeks ago; Baby Sleep Site reader Jessey e-mailed us recently and shared her own method for dealing with the trauma of DST:
I just wanted to share a little discovery we’ve just made in case you could share it with others. With winter coming on, our mornings are very dark until around 7 AM (we live in Colorado). Our little boy goes to bed between 6 and 6:30 and we do not go and get him until after 6 AM (no night feedings anymore, but occasional hiccups here and there).
I was really struggling with how in the world he would know the difference between 5:30 AM and 6 AM when it is just dark. So, I put one of those sunrise simulator alarm clocks in his room. It starts lighting up at 6 AM – very low light at first and then gets brighter. It seems to be working like a charm. Sometimes he’ll wake up too early and it’s still dark and he’ll go back to sleep. Once the light starts coming on he’ll play in his crib for a little bit and then we’ll go in and get him.
Of course, we were intrigued. So we did some hunting, and we found this highly-rated sunrise simulator alarm clock on Amazon.com — the Philips Wake-Up Light.
How does it work? Simple — it simulates the sunrise, allowing your baby or toddler to wake up naturally and gradually, just like he would if the sun were coming up. And, as Jessey mentions in her e-mail, the flip side is that once your little one is used to waking up with this, when he does wake too early and finds it’s still dark, he’ll likely go back to sleep. This might mean an end to your baby or toddler waking at an unholy hour of the morning!
So, Does A Sunrise Simulator Actually Work?
According to many Amazon reviewers, and according to our very own Jessey, the answer is yes.
Still a skeptic? Take three minutes and watch this fun video, in which a team from Philips attempts to trick a rooster (named Simon) into crowing during the middle of the night, using the Philips Wake-Up Light. It’ll make you smile, I promise!
Join The Conversation!
We know Jessey isn’t the only Baby Sleep Site reader out there with unique and insightful sleep tips. So we’re waiting for the rest of you to chime in — how do you cope with the days and weeks after the time change? How do you keep your babies and toddlers sleeping well?
Share your DST sleep tips below!
Time change got you down? Did “falling back” destroy your little one’s sleep schedule? 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.
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