- What environmental factors should I look out for in the coming summer months?
Summer is just around the corner, nights and days are getting warmer and for those who experience daylight savings, the evenings stay lighter for longer too. So, we want to ensure that with this happening, we are maintaining the optimal sleep environment for our babies.
Consideration should be made to ensure that the room is nice and dark when we are putting our little ones down for sleep at night. Natural light tells us we are meant to be awake, and being able to see around the room at bedtime can prevent our little ones from falling asleep. I’d highly recommend the use of block-out curtains over the windows to get that room super dark.
We must also consider that in those early hours of the morning, the outside noises aren’t impacting our little one’s sleep – birds chirping, the world starting up for the day, etc. We can do this by ensuring white noise is still playing. Babies are sensory little beings, and some are more sensitive to their surroundings and what they can see and hear than others.
Temperature is one of the most confusing elements to babies’ sleep for most parents and as we enter the warmer months, we start changing up the tog ratings on sleeping bags or moving them to summer pajamas. We know babies cannot regulate their own body temperature, so we need to dress them to ensure they aren’t too hot or too cold. One layer more than what you wear yourself is suggested. You also must dress them for the coldest time of the night – which is early morning 3-5 am. For many families that I work with who struggle with their baby waking up at night, it’s because they’re cold.
- How can I manage these environmental factors, so they don’t impact my child’s sleep?
The great thing about having the bedroom prepped for sleep is that it usually only needs to be done once and not again. There are portable black-out blinds, material that can be purchased, or companies that sell static black-out material that adheres to the window that will ensure your baby’s bedroom is nice and dark for all sleep and at bedtime at night. A dark room, some white noise, and an appropriate togged sleeping bag are amazing sleep associations to put in place from day one with your little one and can help them understand when it is sleep time. Putting these sleep associations in place means sleeping in different locations and going away on holidays are easily managed if they can be implemented in a new environment and will make sleep consistent across the board.
- How can I manage the transition to daylight savings, so it doesn’t affect my child’s sleep?
This weekend marks the change to daylight savings for those on the Eastern side of Australia – we are going to be moving the clock forward to 2 a.m. on Sunday morning 1st October (2 a.m. becomes 3 a.m.).
Here are three of my suggestions on how to manage this time change:
- You can wait for the time change to occur and work with a later uptime and bedtime if that suits your family.
- You can go cold turkey and wake them at their usual up time on Sunday morning – for example, if you usually get them up at 7 am each day, get them up at the new 7 am time (which will actually be 6 am non-daylight savings time). All naps and meals would be adjusted as well. This process can take a week or so to adjust and settle into.
- Do a slow transition in the week leading into daylight savings. This is what I personally do as a parent and it has worked well for my family. Every other day this week, wake your child 15 minutes earlier to start their day and move their routine by 15 minutes across the day.
Keep progressing with moving their wakeup time 15 minutes earlier all week or until you get the time you are comfortable with so that the clocks change on Sunday morning. This makes for a slow transition with their internal body clock/circadian rhythm which is what dictates our wake and sleep cycles.