How do you explain early waking after the ‘spring ahead’ time change in a 16 month old?
Hi there! Hoping for a little insight on a failed DST transition- we tried your suggestions for our 16 month old, specifically to get her to sleep a little later. She sleeps through the night, usually 7 (730 latest) – 630. About a week before the time change, she started waking earlier and earlier; first 6, then 550, then 545, etc. So I figured, perfect, the time change will work to our advantage! Well, she woke up on Sunday morning at 630, which was really 530 for her, so it was like she was continuing her early waking? We made sure to not put her to bed until 730 Sunday night (we wanted to wait until 8 but she was exhausted from the weekend). She woke this morning at 6. I’m just afraid she is going to continue to get up earlier and earlier. Where did we go wrong? Her room was pitch black this morning at 6 when I went in, so I don’t think it was the light. We have room darkening curtains now, but I am going to convince my husband to get those Redi Shades on Amazon tonight just in case…I know it’s not much to complain about, she is a great sleeper as it is, but I was really hoping for at least an extra half hour, not the other way around
It sounds like she was indeed shifting earlier before the time change. I think that the early bedtime Sunday probably had a little to do with it (since the 7:30 bedtime on Sunday was like putting her down at 6:30 on Saturday — amazing how the clock changes messes with you, isn’t it?). The main issue is probably not enough bright light in the evening and possibly some contribution from erratic napping? You didn’t mention her nap pattern, but if she is on two naps, this early waking shift is a sign that she needs one nap. That said, if she is taking two naps use it to your advantage before you switch to one: Make sure nap 2 is late in the day to get her to bedtime, keep the lights bright and put her down at 8:00 PM. Do this for ~3 days, then start offering one nap centered in the middle of the day and start to shift her bedtime earlier in 15 minute increments. If she is already taking one nap, then make sure it is centered in her day, so that her wakefulness is the same duration on either side of the nap, keep it bright in the evening and put her down at 8:00 PM for a few nights and then shift bedtime gradually earlier. Lastly, a quick note on light exposure — it’s not that light creeping in causes a waking so much as light exposure in the morning prevents sleeping later in the future. So if your daughter wakes up early you definitely want to keep her in the dark until her target wake time. I hope that helps! Good luck!