Best sleep practices for Travel and Daylight Savings

Best sleep practices for when you travel with your baby- helping you to stick to your routine.  What to do to adjust for daylight savings and maintain your sleep schedule.  All good suggestions to keep your little one on the sleep schedule you have established.  

newborn, baby, sleeping-6467761.jpg

Episode Transcript

Welcome back First Breaths. to First Steps I am joined today with Lindsay Burchfield of Columbine sleep solutions. Lindsay is a sleep specialist that works in Denver and has been helping families train their babies, newborns, as well as toddlers and child age groups to sleep through the night. Today, she’s going to talk with me about tips for quality sleep when traveling as well as how to adjust for daylight savings time.

I think when we’re sleep training, those are always really good questions to ask and parents always have that, in the back of their mind, wondering , how are we going to do this when we travel and, or Ooh, we’re in a part of the country where we have daylight savings time and how am I going to work through that hour and change.

Welcome Lindsay. I appreciate you being here today. Hi, thank you so much for having me. Can’t wait to talk about these fun topics. Okay. So let’s start with tips for quality sleep. When traveling, what are your suggestions? All of us want to travel, especially with our, our children. It’s a fun thing to do.

And I think very refreshing for all of us. But if you are a parent, you know, that travel can wreak havoc on sleep. However, there are some things that we can do to try to , ensure that sleep is somewhat organized and kept normal when we do travel.

So the few things that I like to suggest to folks when they are traveling include first and foremost, to make sure that if you can provide an independent sleep space for your child while traveling that you do so. What this means is that you could place your child , in the bathroom or even far away from the bed, if you’re in a hotel room. But all of us sleep a little bit better and with our independent sleep space. If we can create some type of independent sleep space for our child, when traveling the likelihood that they will wake up, because they hear us kind of goes down in nature. So I always suggest trying to find an independent place for them to sleep.

The other thing that I suggest too, is to try to bring from home some of the items that they have for their sleep experience. If you use a sleep sack or your baby has a lovey. Bring that along when you were traveling, that could be really helpful. I always suggest to, to even bring things like sheets from home, because that will just remind them of the smell of home.

The other thing , when traveling is that I always suggest keeping to your routine. So if you can keep the same times: for naps in the same times for bedtime that you do at home, when you’re traveling, that can be very helpful. Over tiredness is one of the biggest things that happens during vacation and get happens to us adults too. But over tiredness can really throw sleep kind of into a crazy tailspin. If we’re able to , continue to maintain our schedule and our routines, even going through the bedtime routine like you do at home, when you travel, that can really help cue children, so that they’re ready for the experience. And then of course, if you are kind of in the midst of sleep training your children when you travel, but just something I don’t highly recommend doing, but sometimes that does happen. I would always say, you just want to make sure that you stay consistent with whatever approach you’ve been using at home when you’re traveling as well.

One of the things that I always suggest when somebody is helping their child to learn the skill of falling asleep on their own is to make sure that they’re giving them time to fall asleep on their own or give them the time to self-sooth. So if you are on vacation near a little one is thrown off and let’s say they start crying in the middle of the night. If you are helping them to learn that skill falling asleep. I always suggest giving them those few minutes that you would at home when you’re traveling as well. And this will just to help, to maintain kind of their skill level and what they’re learning so that you don’t have to do a full retrain when you get back home.

Yeah, I agree. I always try to coach parents or, clients that I’m working with before they travel. Just kind of saying, you know, sometimes it really is beneficial. Number one, to make sure wherever you’re going, you. Do you have that independent sleep space as you call it, it can even be a closet as long as the pack and play or whatnot fits in there that’s perfect. But I think also when they have that independent space, you can do exactly what you’re saying and give them enough time to stick with your training, right? Allow them to learn how to kind of settle on their own. I think when they’re right near our head or right next to our bed, it’s hard to do that because you’re right there. I think also letting, if you’re staying at somebody’s house, letting them kinda know, I am sleep training and, or we may have a little bit of fussing at night, it’s normal for us. Hopefully you’re comfortable with that. And kind of talk about it ahead of time, because I think it takes that stress off of those parents when they’re going to visit people. Setting that expectation, . We are sleep training and we are trying to teach some skills of being able to settle on our own. We kind of need a separate space. I’m going to be bringing X, Y, and Z from home. I think that that sets them up for success, but can also help wherever you’re staying understand what you’re going through a little bit to kind of help you out and to be successful in that realm.

Yeah, absolutely. I think setting expectations is always important with those that you’re around letting them know kind of what you’re doing and what you’re comfortable with as a parent. And yeah, I always second the closet, my children have slept in more closets and bathrooms and you can count, and it really yields itself as a wonderful tool. So definitely use that bathroom if you have it. I think , when you talk through it ahead of time, especially, you know, family can be a tricky thing. I think talking through it a lot of times before hand is really helpful because sometimes that’s why we don’t go and we don’t travel with our kids because we’re worried about, is that going to upset grandma or my sister or uncles. If you lay out, this is what we’re doing. Hopefully they’ll get on board and be able to support you for sure. I also absolutely 100% could not agree more about trying to stick to your routine as much as possible.

If you’re really traveling overseas, that’s hard because you’re trying to move four or five hours. There’s going to be some adjustment phase, but especially with domestic travel. You’re maybe talking one to two hours difference, which I think can be easier to absorb and maybe you’re up earlier or going to bed later. But I think just trying to stick with what routine you follow at home is great advice for sure.

Just to go back real quick to the point you made about time zone changes, I think it is important to understand sometimes the best way to adjust for those. I always suggest just so you are aware that if you are going to a time zone, that is two hours ahead or more. From where you live and you’re going to be vacationing for three or more days. I always suggest just jumping to that new time zone as quickly as you can, because that will really help those children’s kind of body clock be able to get on the new time zone and not lag behind or before, or ahead too much. If you are going on time zone and it’s only an hour ahead or an hour behind, you could easily just try to stick to your home time. But oftentimes jumping to that new time zone is really your best bet. And or if it’s a really huge jump in time, you can do what is kind of like split the difference. If it’s , four hours ahead, you could try to just move the body clock by two hours. And change the schedule a little bit that way, but I did just want to mention how I address for time zone change. That’s a great suggestion. I think , when we’re traveling closer to home, especially right now , that smaller timeframe is probably not anything that you need to really be super concerned about as long as you’re maintaining one organized schedule but once you do get to, two hours it is probably, easier for your child as well to just get on that timeframe just because everybody’s up or everyone’s going to sleep, all at the same time. It may take a couple of days to adjust. So you may have a late or an early bedtime or later, early naps for the first day or two, but usually kids can adjust just within a day or two. So it’s definitely worth just jumping to that new schedule.

How many days of vacation would you say it’s worth jumping to the new schedule. Anything that’s over three days. If you’re vacationing for three days or more than absolutely try to adjust to the new time zone as that make your experience better.

How do you think would be the best way to adjust for daylight savings time? As a sleep coach, I personally wish that daylight savings just didn’t exist because not only does it wreak havoc for a little ones, it actually reeks quite a bit of havoc on adults as well. For any type of time change like this, it can take up to six weeks for a person’s body to adjust to that. Ultimately, , there’s a lot of impacts of making that change. So I wish it didn’t exist, but it does. There’s definitely ways that we can help to adjust for it.

One of the first things that I do suggest is to actually not worry about it until it already happens. So I know that there are some very proactive people that know that daylight savings is coming or it’s ending and they want to get their kid adjusted for it. I think it just adds a little bit , undue stress. I always say. Don’t really worry about it until the day that it happens. And then when it does just let that morning go as normal. So after daylight savings, it usually changes at 2:00 AM, right? The next morning, when you wake up, just go about your business as normal, don’t even worry about that clock. Once that morning goes past, you can go and you can change the clocks as normal. And that’s when you can start to adjust for it.

Now what I suggest doing is to what I call split the difference, which means that you will either nap your child 30 minutes earlier, or 30 minutes later. Depending on if we’re springing forward or springing back. We do the same thing with bedtime, and we do this for three consecutive days until we then on the fourth night and the fifth day go to naps at the same time as normal and bedtime as the same time as normal. So what this does is essentially not push our bodies to the max by making us jump to the new time too quickly. And it gives us a little bit of time to adjust so that we’re not getting super overtired babies or super, you know, cranky babies or toddlers or anything of the like . If we’re going to spring. Forward. Right. So let’s say your baby normally goes to bed at seven, but we’re going to spring forward. Now that bedtime is going to look like eight. You’re going to ultimately want to have your baby going down to sleep at seven 30 for the bedtime for the first three days. And then eventually you would push them to eight o’clock, but it’s a gradual way of getting your one little one adjusted so that they’re not too messed up for the daylight savings and the weeks to come.

Right. I think that split the difference concept is really great because you know, 15 to 30 minutes is a doable increment. I think it’s fairly easy to do. And most habits are made or broken within four to seven days. So exactly what you’re saying. It won’t take long to get back to that time. And I would agree with you. We have. Way too much unneeded unnecessary stress beforehand about this. But I think that allowing that first part of the morning after daylight savings has occurred to kind of just go about your business. It really can be easier than we make it sound when we’re facing that. So I think that’s a, that’s a really good point that you bring up for sure.

Anything else to add to that Lindsay that you can think about it is, and this goes a little bit with my travel tip of jumping to the new time zone. If you have a little one that doesn’t have a set bedtime yet. And I would say that you can just jump to the new time. You don’t have to worry about the splitting of the difference. I think that there don’t have kind of a set schedule yet, so you might as well just get them on the new time as quickly as possible. The last thing is if you’re dealing with a newborn or even a young baby, without that set bedtime, feel free to just jump to the new time. Splitting the difference is not really necessary. You do bring up a good point about an ideal bedtime. I always try to coach parents and families to start your day and stop your day at the same time. I think it just helps everyone to organize. Unfortunately, when you are sleep training, that does also mean Saturday and Sunday, right? The days that start with “S”. But I think it’s super important to get that concept into your routine early, because if you’re changing, when you start the day 6:00 AM now it’s 10:00 AM, now it’s 7:00. AM, you’re really adjusting your timeframe of that nice 12 hours of morning, 12 hours of evening. starting and stopping the day really important to set forth for good sleep habit. Would you agree?

Especially as babies get into more of a predictable schedule or even toddlers, even young children, try not to start or end your day within 30 minutes of a set time each night, so, or each morning. If your little one traditionally wakes at seven every morning, I would really say if they’re sleeping in. You probably want to wake up by seven 30 just to continue to keep that schedule. Same thing with bedtime, right. It’s been a rough nap day and they normally go to bed at seven, try six 30, but I wouldn’t try to push it too much, either 30 minutes before or after kind of your set schedule that you have each and every day.

Right? Because then you’re creating a new schedule. Lindsay. Well, I really appreciate your tips today on things that we can do when we’re traveling as well as adjusting to daylight savings. And I appreciate all your wisdom and insight.

If you are interested in working with Lindsay or myself at First Breaths to First Steps and helping to coach your newborns with good sleep habits and, or. coaching from the newborn period all the way through the first year of life, you can click the description in the podcast and get ahold of either one of us. So until next time be well.