With the holidays fast-approaching, many families are beginning to firm up holiday travel plans. But take it from me: all of that holiday traveling and celebrating can have a huge impact on sleep. Nap and bedtime schedules tend to go haywire over the holidays, and my team and I see a significant uptick in visitors to our site who are looking for help getting sleep back on track after the holiday festivities are done.
But parents, you can do some prep work before the holidays — prep work that can help to prevent sleep drama and keep naps and bedtime on track. When it comes to managing sleep during traveling, I suggest trying these tips:
- Try to travel in the afternoon. The morning nap is the most restorative, so it’s best if it happens at home, in your child’s usual sleeping area instead of on the road or in an airplane.
- Bring familiar “sleepy” objects along with you when traveling. By bringing your child’s usual sheets, favorite PJs, and lovey, you’ll make an unfamiliar sleeping area more restful and sleep-inducing. I also recommend bringing along a white noise machine and some portable room-darkening shades in case the home you’re visiting is too bright or noisy for your child to sleep comfortably.
- Offer an earlier bedtime if traveling and celebrating result in missed naps. If your child skips naps or has unusually short naps over the holidays, bump bedtime up in order to prevent overtiredness. Overtiredness can mean night waking and earlier-than-usual morning waking.
- A few late bedtimes may be fine, but avoid too many in a row. You don’t need to say “no” to every evening holiday party, but too many late nights can wreak havoc on even the best sleeper’s usual sleeping patterns. Instead, keep late bedtimes to a minimum as best you can.
- After the New Year, allow several days for your child to adjust back his usual sleeping schedule. Those few days will feel really off, most likely. But spending a bit of concentrated time in order to get sleep back on track will pay off in the long run – within a matter of days, everyone will be back to normal.
Of course, I should end with my #1 tip – relax and enjoy yourself! The holidays are such a special time, and you’ll no doubt be enjoying some special celebrations and time with family and friends whom you rarely see. So remember to relax and enjoy your loved ones!
For more tips on how to prevent sleep drama while still enjoying your holiday season, check out The Baby Sleep Site®’s holiday sleep guide.
Guest Writer-Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep”. If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help! Download the popular free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, to get started today