After parents and baby put in the work to develop the skills to sleep through the night, there can be a real sense of accomplishment, which is absolutely deserved! It’s no walk in the park and getting baby sleeping through the night is an amazing feat, for sure.
But there can be a tendency to drift back into old habits once baby’s sleeping well, and the one I see most often focuses on bedtime.
So when is it OK to switch up bedtimes? How often, and what are the consequences if you do it too often? I’ve got all of that and more in this week’s video.
Now, you know, if you know me you know that I love early bedtimes. I talk about early bedtimes all over the place and there’s a few reasons why I love them.
One, it ensures that your child is going to bed before they become overtired which is super important to a good quality nighttime sleep and the second is because I want you to have some evening. I know what a beautiful gift it is to have those few precious hours of evening time where you can just do you, right? And just enjoy some me time, so I love to give that to parents because once they get a taste of it they love it, right? Everyone needs time to themselves. That’s just a fact of life.
But can you still do this with a later bedtime? I know there’s people in other parts of the world who have traditionally later bedtimes. They eat later, they go to bed later, they start their day later and so can you be at all flexible with this? And the answer is yes you can try. You can try. For example, I got an e-mail from a lady the other day who said I don’t get off work until 8:00 p.m. So by the time I get the child and get home, if I, everything is in line, I can get her to bed by 8:30 p.m. So is that doable? And again my answer is yes we can try.
So what I hope happens, if you’re gonna try for an 8:30 p.m. bed time I want to see a wake-up time that’s about 7:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. somewhere between then and then I know that your child’s getting 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep and that’s perfect, and if that’s happening then, again, high five yourself because that’s awesome. And if you like it I like it. All right, you want to try a 9:30 p.m. bedtime? As long as she’s sleeping ’til 8:30-ish a.m., again, yay, victory.
The only snag, all right, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news here, but the only snag is that most babies and it’s in the 90s, and this is just, again, the facts, I’m not making them up. Most babies gravitate naturally to a 7:00 a.m. wake-up and I’ve been in this business for 14 years. And so I can tell you that that is true. So they just gravitate. So once they get their nighttime sleep better and more consolidated they often start waking around the 7:00 a.m. hour.
Now the problem is if you’re gonna shoot for an 8:30 p.m. bed time and you’ve got a child waking up at 7:00 a.m. there’s too much daytime, right? It’s gonna be very hard to time the naps right. There’s gonna be a big chunk of space between her last nap and bedtime and what’s gonna happen there is she’s going to get overtired and once she’s overtired it’ll be even harder for her to fall asleep at that hour. She’s gonna have a more restless nighttime sleep and potentially wake up even earlier in the morning and it gets to be a little bit of a problem.
So give it a go. Absolutely, give it a shot because it happens, it does happen. I’ve seen it happen lots of times. So it’s worth a try but just keep in mind if you notice that your baby’s gravitating towards this earlier wake-up time you’re gonna have to just roll with it, right? Again, it’s not forever. I can tell you I have three teens who are sleeping ’til noon these days, summer holiday. But it won’t be forever that you’ll be stuck in this early morning wake up, but it may be for now and you’re just gonna have to. I always say you know what it’s better to just go with her. Follow her lead and then try to wrestle her into something that she’s just not gonna do.
Thanks for watching today sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!