Baby Sleep and the Seasons: How sleep changes with shorter days

baby yawning

2020 has had its fair share of shakeups (to say the least). Now that we’re settling into winter, there may be another change you’ve noticed recently: your baby’s sleeping habits. When the seasons change — or when the dreaded Daylight Saving Time forces us to lose daylight — it can disrupt Baby’s sleep. Why, exactly? We’re sharing some main reason sleep changes with the seasons and how you can adjust so everyone gets the sleep they need.

Less daylight = earlier bedtimes

If your bedtime routine has remained the same but your baby is nodding off earlier, you can thank their circadian rhythm, which is a natural process that regulates our sleep based on the light. But with less daylight in the fall and winter, your baby is likely going to sleep much sooner. 

While an earlier bedtime may not seem like an issue at first, it usually means earlier wake-up times. That, of course, can impact your or the entire family’s sleep. So, how do you adjust? In a word: slowly. Start Baby’s bedtime routine 15 minutes later each night until you reach a new desired bedtime — typically an hour to reflect the time change. And when summer rolls around again, you can make the same adjustment, but start bedtime earlier instead. 

Disrupted naptimes 

While the extra nighttime hours may have the rest of us feeling sluggish, you may notice your baby starting to sleep longer through the night. That’s because they’re not battling the heightened activity that comes with summer, like lighter evenings, later bedtimes for the rest of the family, or hotter temperatures. However, if they’re getting more sleep at night, that can start to impact their naps during the day.

If that’s the case, you may need to adjust your routines a bit. While a baby sleeping in is usually a gift for any parent, skipping out on naptimes is not. Try to wake Baby up at the same time each day so there’s room for a nap that day. The goal here is to make sure they get the same amount of sleep each day, but not all at night. 

Colder temperatures

Even though we might not like the colder temperatures outside, we actually sleep better with them inside. That goes for Baby too! Health experts say cooler temperatures — around 65 degrees — help us sleep better through the night.

Yes, it may feel colder in your home, but that can actually help Baby get much-needed deep sleep. If they’re too hot, their sleep will likely be more disrupted. And, of course, we know that blankets and pillows are dangerous to put in the crib with them. The takeaway? When it gets cooler outside, don’t overdress your baby or put blankets in their cribs. All you have to do is ensure the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold — but just right.

Still struggling with Baby’s sleep? Let Rachelle help!

A baby’s sleep can be affected by a number of things — beyond changes in the season. When that happens, it can be incredibly confusing and frustrating to pinpoint what’s going on. That’s when Sleep by Rachelle can step in to help!

With nearly two decades of experience as a sleep coach, Rachelle knows and understands what affects a baby’s sleep and creates customized plans for families. Whether you’re just starting out, navigating a seasonal change, or struggling in any other way, Sleep by Rachelle is here to help. Book your complimentary sleep assessment today!

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