Daylight savings time is a cruel joke played on people with small children twice a year.
The latest prank, the end of daylight savings time with its promise of an extra hour of sleep, is especially loathsome.
Why? Because babies and toddlers don’t get the memo that they have to automatically adjust their sleeping patterns on an arbitrary date on the calendar. If they are used to getting up at 5 a.m., they are going to get up at 5 a.m. even if 5 a.m. is now 4 a.m.
I first experienced this very phenomenon a few years ago. It didn’t matter if I kept my daughter up an extra hour, let her run around to burn off energy or simply cuddle with her on the couch watching television — for about a month after the time change, she still got up an hour early. Let’s just say, I wasn’t pleased or well-rested.
These transitions always seem to hit just when you think you’re in a good place with sleep training. You get your child to bed at a decent hour that allows you to do a few chores and maybe watch a show or two before hitting the sack. Maybe they’re only getting up once at night or they’re sleeping a good eight to 10 hours straight. Then bam – they are waking up bright-eyed and bushy tailed right when you’re hitting the deepest stage of non-REM sleep.
The good news is that as they get older, it does get better. It’s been a few days and my older daughter has only gotten up once in the middle of the night. The baby is pretty cranky in the evenings before bedtime because she’s up later than she’s used to, but she’s only getting up about 30 minutes early in the morning.
The only advice I have to offer is to hang in there and try to go to bed earlier. You’re not alone in the struggle. Stay strong.
Serena Smith is a senior marketing communications specialist at ProMedica. Click here to read more posts from Serena’s monthly series, Working Mommyhood