How to deal with the three most common springtime sleep problems?

_english baby sleep sleep coaching sleep training spring too early wake up too much light white noise May 10, 2021

Spring means that the days are longer and that influences our sleep and our children’s sleep. So if you have noticed that new sleep problems started to emerge in your household, you might be able to blame the season! In this episode I will give you my best tips to solve the three most common springtime sleep problem.

When I suggested to tape cardboard boxes to the window, I meant cardboard, of course. Not the unfolded boxes :D

Look at this blog post, or listen to the embedded podcast episode for a safe white noise machine installation guide.


Hello everyone. It's Anna, thank you so much for tuning in today. You're listening to the baby sleep project. Show the place to learn about baby sleep and sleep coaching.

So today I will answer three questions without all it related to this time of the year I E sprint. So if you are listening to this, as it drops, it is the beginning of May, 2021 and it's spring diamond and the order and hemisphere. And that means a lot of wonderful things. But among those are the fact that the sun is up longer. It rises earlier and sets later, and that influences sleep not only for babies, but also for adults. So if you have noticed that new sleep problems started to emerge lately, it might be the case that you can blame the season and you are in the right place because I will address the three most common springtime sleep problems in this episode. And let me tell you in advance that sleep training is not the answer to these problems. So if you have been listening to this podcast for a while, you might know that in my terminology, sleep, coaching involves everything that the parent would do to improve their baby sleep.

And this includes, uh, addressing the outside and the inside factors that influenced sleep and also sleep training. But my advice is that whenever you are dealing with a sleep problem that has an unknown, cause you should always start with addressing the insight and outside factors before you attempt sleep training. So what are the needs outside and inside factors? So outside factors are those that originate from the environment. So think about the noise D light, the temperature and the general setup of the sleeping place of the baby. And it's like factors are those that originate from the body of the baby, mainly hunger thirst, uh, whether the baby's hot or cold and whether he is even tired or sleepy or overtired. So when our body is prepared to sleep and so after addressing these problems, the next step would be sleep training. But if the cause of your baby's sleep problems is the fact that the sun is up longer and the days are longer, then you probably won't have to do any sleep training.

Okey? So the sun influences both the outside and inside factors. It influences our circadian rhythm. So that would be an insight factor and it is a main sleep factor, but it also influences the environment. It influences delight obviously, but even the noise because, the light influences the circadian rhythm of animals and that in turn influences the noise level of, or our environmental, like, think about birds. And so let's see what are the three most common, springtime sleep problems that I have been asked about lately? So the first one is the baby warned fall asleep in the evening. Okay. So I thought on this topic in my previous episode, which was about a baby who wouldn't go to bed until 10:00 PM. And, uh, whereas I think in that case, the reason could be something else, but I raised the possibility that the cost for this problem might be also that it's spring time.

And basically the sun is still up when the baby should go to bed. So, um, for most babies, that time is somewhere between six and 8:00 PM, right? Um, for younger babies, it's usually a bit earlier in most families and, uh, for older babies or toddlers and kindergarten, a nurse it's a little bit later, but even if it's 8:00 PM, uh, where I live, the sun is still up at 8:00 PM. What can you do? Obviously you can make the room darker. And most friends know this and they make the room completely dark for bedtime. But the problem is that when the baby goes from playing outside under the sun to having a bath, a dinner and, um, the bedtime routine going student emotions off the bedtime routine, and then the parents make the room dark for lights out. And when the baby should go to bed, that might not be enough.

Why? Because even though the room is completely dark, when the parents switches off the light and when the baby should fall asleep. But if the baby saw that the sun was still up and shining just five minutes before that that might not be enough time for the baby to wind down and the baby might resist to go to bed. So my advice in this case is that if you already know that you have to make the room dark for bedtime, do this a little bit earlier. So whenever you start the bedtime routine, whenever you go to the room with the baby where the baby sleeps, then the room should be already dark at that point, making the room dark and switching on a small nightlight might help, but you might also have to make the bedtime routine longer to give your child a little bit more time to adjust to the fact that it's bath time.

Okay? Because the strongest cue and the environment and the sun is telling your giant that it's play time, that it's still daytime. And so the child might need maybe help half an hour to wind down and accept that it's bedtime. So it might mean, and whenever you do whatever you do before bedtime, like I'm having dinner, bathing the child or whatever, you might not be able to dark and the whole house for these things. But whenever you go to the child's room to read a story or to sing a lullaby or something, uh, it should be already completely dark or just dark with a small light you'd light. But in most families, these, those parts of the bedtime routine are quite short. So you might want to make it longer, like read two stories. There were so many stories instead of just one story or sling, seeing more, uh, lullabies, or, or maybe if you don't lag those activities, you can just introduce quiet playtime before you start reading a book or whatever.

Okay. So problem number one, baby, won't fall asleep in the evening. The solution is that the dark part of the bedtime routine should be longer to give the child more time to adjust a fact that it bedtime. Okay. Problem. Number two is that the baby wakes up too early in the morning because of noise. And I have read a hilarious post on Reddit, which I will read for you because I asked the original writer of this post, whether I can quote it. So it goes like this, the title of the post was hunting season question Mark. And the post goes like this. Hi, all my eight months old used to wake at 6:30 AM, but it has got progressively earlier over the months. And I couldn't figure out why until this morning I happened to be awake anyway, struggling to get back to sleep because this freaking bird is going mental outside.

And I thought it did better. We did before it wakes the baby, but baby express less for 10 minutes then wakes up fully. I'm not really going to kill the bird, but I don't think there's much. I can do. We already have a white noise going, but the bird is really loud as there's a tree right next to the window, which I think is it's home. I'm surprised I haven't woken up before any suggestions. Thanks. Okay. So to be honest, my first advice for this moment would have been do it. It's still a white noise machine, but you see that they already have it that, so I looked at what other commanders advised, and there were some really creative ones, which I will tell you. So, first of all, about the white noise machine. So some people suggested to make the white noise louder to mask the outside noise, the birds, um, that could be an answer, but be careful because, uh, too loud, white noise can damage the baby's ears.

I have an episode on this, on how to properly install a white noise machine, how to adjust the volume so that it's not dangerous. So I will link that episode below if you are interested in this solution, but if you cannot set the white noise machine any louder, because it would be dangerous and it doesn't solve your problem, then there were other suggestions, which I'm not sure about, but you can check them out. And I would really, really interested to hear it from you if anyone tries these pricks. So one suggestion was to move the white noise machines closer to the crib, but that of course in turn influences the volume. So I don't suggest that. So if you already set the volume to the maximum, that is, uh, safe, then you shouldn't move the white noise machine closer because that will make the noise louder for the baby. So I don't suggest that, but there was another suggestion, which is interesting is to move to white noise machine closer to the window. So the idea is that it would mask the outside noise better. If it worked closer to the window, I'm not sure that it would work, but if anyone tries it, please let me

Know. And there were some other very creative solutions, including a fake owl, fake owl by the window, maybe outside the window and the window seal to scare off the birds, a fake cat on the tree. So it was, it suggested if I'm fake gets on the tree or a fake snake. So if snakes are endemic in your country, and if the snake is a natural predator of that particular bird than it could help. So to sum up, if the noise, if a bird wakes your baby up in the morning, too early, then try installing a white noise machine. Be careful about how you set the volume, try to move the white noise machine closer to the window. I'm not sure if that helps, but if anyone tries it, let me know and drive the scare of the bird with a fake predator, like an owl, a cat or a snake.

Okay. Problem. Number three, baby wakes up too early in the morning because of the light. Okay. So does, this is my own example. So during the winter, my son used to wake up at 7:00 AM or even after 7:00 AM. So we usually set the arm at 7:00 AM because that's when we have to wake up to get my daughter to school in time. So 7:00 AM would be our desired wake up time. So that was quite convenient. But as the sun started to rise earlier, my son started to rise earlier, too. So now in a room where there are no blackout blinds, he wakes up around 5:00 AM. So that happens when he sleeps at my mom's place, because there are no proper backup lines. There, obviously I've, we've installed proper blackout blinds, uh, in the nursery. But my son started to come to our bed in the middle of the night and we don't mind it.

We there's no problem with that, except that it, our room, the shape are not as good. So we have two windows and one of them has these exterior metal roller blinds, which completely block light. So whenever you, uh, lowered those blinds, it just looks like a wall. So no, no light comes through, but we have another window where we couldn't install these, these exterior blinds because it's a nice old window. So we installed these so-called block-out roller blinds, which is installed from the inside. And it also completely blocked slight, but it doesn't hang tight to the window. And it glows we'd like from the outside. So there are no light gaps between the window frame and this blind. So the blind actually covers the window frame too, but it doesn't cover the window closely. So the light comes through over the edges. It's an East facing window.

So it gets direct sunlight in the morning. And that means that the room could be pretty light even at 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM. So that means that my son wakes up. I was a little bit slow to react to this problem. And actually this, this shows that sleep coaching is not one and done. It's a constant challenge because the environment changes constantly, our children change constantly, and you always have to respond to these challenges and address them. So I was a little bit late. I was a little bit slow to address this challenge. So we've been struggling with 5:36 AM makeups in the last month or so. And anyway, I thought that there's nothing I can do, which is quite stupid because whenever we travel, we have this contested travel black outlines that you can adjust to the window with these suction cups. So in my mind that it was only for travel.

So I thought there's nothing I can do, which is your bed. But, um, just last night, I thought, why not? I mean, it doesn't look nice and we want, uh, install them every night and then put them down every morning. So we'll just leave it on. As long as my son comes into our bed in the middle of the night, as long as we need it. So I installed these on the window. It's the perfect size. It covers the whole window. So now it's completely dark. And the room and magic happened. My son didn't wake up until 7:00 AM. So that was that. So the whole problem, and actually it's good for my son too, because he's much, much more relaxed and rested in the morning. And it also makes more sense in terms of his schedule. If he wakes up, then it's really hard for him to wait for his nap after lunch.

And that also means that the afternoon wake window is much longer than usually, and that just messes up his mood. Um, bedtime is more difficult, so he messes up the whole day generally. So to me, it's much better if he wakes up later on in the morning. So problem number three, if the baby wakes up too early in the morning, because of delay, just do anything you can to meet a room darker. If you don't have these travel blackout blinds, very creative solutions that I heard is that you can put up cardboard boxes. So you can duct tape these cardboard boxes to the window frame, another very creative solution, although it's a bit wasteful. So I don't like it that much, but that could be a quick solution. If you don't have anything else that you can think of is to put up aluminum foil on the window with just water. So you wipe the window with a wet sponge and then you just stick the aluminum foil on the window and that should do the job. So those are the three most common springtime sleep problems that I heard about. But let me know if you have more dropping your questions. And also I would be really interested how my listeners in Scandinavia, where during the summer, the days are really long. How do they cope with these kind of changes in their baby's sleep and in their own sleep? I would be really interested to know.