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Early waking revelation

(59 Posts)
Raggedy Wed 18-May-11 14:10:01

My DS (19 months old) has had various stages of waking up at an unreasonable hour - 5.30am or so. I've tried all sorts of different methods - earlier bedtime, later bedtime, wake to sleep, etc without much success.

However, I recently read a report about trying to alter their circadian rhythym by taking them outside for a walk/play/etc later on in the evening. He usually goes to bed at 7pm so I have been taking him out for a walk/play about 6-6.30pm just before bath/bed. And it has had a fantastic effect - he is now waking routinely between about 6.15 and 7.00am which I find much more reasonable.

So I just wanted to let any mothers of early risers know in case they wanted to give it a try!

thesurgeonsmate Wed 18-May-11 14:19:06

How lovely! I used to do an early evening ploy with my newborn, just because it was getting to a grizzly time of day and getting out cheered us up a bit and topped up the fresh air quotient. She's much easier now, and we've got eating supper to pass the time so we've let it slip. But it was a really nice time of day to be out and about. I will certainly put this tip in my back pocket for future use if needed.

oremstango Thu 19-May-11 07:51:45

Very interesting- can you share a link to this report? Interested to read more.

Ktay Thu 19-May-11 09:59:39

Ooh thanks. I am up for trying anything (DD has just turned 2 and wakes up predictably at about 5.45). I thought going outside after tea was making her a bit too excited at a time when she should be winding down but things are so terrible here it can't hurt to try it!

Hope your 'lie-ins' continue.

oremstango Thu 19-May-11 21:16:46

I think 5:45 at this time of year is fairly normal, if the lo seems rested and happy. Once a bit older the GroClock is a great tool to get them to stay in bed longer too.

MrsBananaGrabber Fri 20-May-11 02:41:23

5.45 is too early, you need another hour really ktay I would try what the OP has suggested smile

practicallyimperfect Fri 20-May-11 05:50:37

Well we have retreated from 5.30am to 4.45am and it is killing me. I might give it a go!

oremstango Fri 20-May-11 07:50:12

My ds is just one and is up crying like crazy at 5:00- would gladly take 5:45. : ( He generally wakes up crying but no matter how much we try to settle or what we do the crying continues, rough way to start the day. Anyone else have any luck on this?

matana Fri 20-May-11 10:22:45

Early bird here too. 6 mo DS used to wake 6-6.30am, but is gradually getting earlier. Yesterday 5.45am and today it was 5.30am (can't be sure, but i think he might have gone back to sleep for 15 minutes somewhere between 5.45 and 6.15am - it went very quiet). He invariably babbles to himself for about half an hour before starting to cry for his morning feed. Even with the monitor on its lowest volume i can hear him practising his screeches and screams though so when he's awake, i'm awake! Thinking of buying a blackout blind later.... fingers crossed for tomorrow morning.

MissRedIndie Fri 20-May-11 14:01:07

Hi all, I've been googling away trying to find out more about this theory. I've found a journal article linking evening exposure to light as a cure for adult morning insomnia (ie. waking too early) here and a webpage suggesting ways to prevent early morning waking in babies here

The first article supports Raggedy's idea of evening exposure to light resulting in a later wake up time. The second article doesn't mention evening exposure to light, but does talk about the importance of light exposure on waking in the morning (presumably exposing them to light at the time you'd like them to be awake eg. 7am, rather than the time they currently awake eg 5.30am!).

It also mentions interestingly how if the morning nap is moved slowly further away from the wake up time, that the baby would be less likely to use this nap as an extension of night time sleep (and thus should start waking later).

DD (8 mo) has been moving further and further away from the 7am wake up we used to have, and the 5.30am waking a couple of mornings ago was not enjoyable at all!! I will definitely be going out for a walk before bed tonight to see if this theory works!!

abigailj Fri 20-May-11 14:45:03

Thankyou for the suggestion, we'll be trying it too. 5.45 is considered excellent in our house at the moment - 4.45 is gut-wrenchingly early and all to common (ds is 11 months).

I have also found an extra blanket also helps - seems he likes to be toasty warm in the am hours.

oremstango Fri 20-May-11 15:13:26

Thanks for all of this and glad we're not alone, sadly. After weeks of 5am crying I am really losing it and having a hard time being my normal self, as is my hubby, and have to return to work in a week. Blech.

hattieboomboom Fri 20-May-11 19:18:01

Very interesting thread - please do report back those that have said they will try it!

matana Sat 21-May-11 09:00:51

DH took DS for an evening walk to the shops two evenings running (6pm) but it didn't seem to help. Maybe you have to try it for longer though.

We're spending all afternoon and evening in the garden today in glorious sunshine so perhaps we'll get a lie in tomorrow morning?? The blackout blind didn't really work....

Zimm Sat 21-May-11 18:05:25

Interesting idea...but when to fit said walk in with dinner/bath/bed?
We do (9 month DD) Dinner @ 5.15, Bath at 6. Feed at 6.15 and bed around 6.45pm. Should I move dinner earlier and do the walk after dinner? Her wake up is 5.45 - urrgh.

MissRedIndie Sat 21-May-11 20:23:26

Zimm, why don't you try a play in the garden straight after dinner for half an hour? Or dinner in the garden if it takes ages to eat??

Matana, fingers crossed for you...

I took dd into garden for half an hour last night before bed, had her into bed at 6.45, and was most annoyed when she woke up at 5.45 again as usual. However, on getting to her room I discovered that her black out blind had fallen down (GRRRRRR!!!!) and she had clearly woken earlier than she wanted to as she was whiney after her feed, so I put her back to bed, and at about 6.30am she fell asleep till 7.30!

So I'm not really sure whether the evening light thing worked but the blind falling down scuppered the lie in or not!!

Fingers crossed my botch job of mending the blind lasts till tomorrow idea what wake up time we'll get tomorrow - the later wake up today (and being at a wedding) through all nap times out by an hour, and she was later to bed than usual. I'm still hoping for that elusive lie in tomorrow!!!!

oremstango Sun 22-May-11 09:55:06

Well some grand improvement here, ds up at 5:45 instead of 5:00 the last 2 mornings and up happy and not crying and screaming! I hate to say but my older son was/is an early riser and I do think 5:45 is normal for many wee ones, especially in the light summer mornings, as long as they are well rested when they wake. The only things I've changed is blocking a bit more light (black out shades already, just tucking them back), out playing after dinner each time, set room heater at 20. Maybe one of these has helped but has made a huge difference for me.

When all else fails, humour helps so thought you all would enjoy this if you haven't heard about it already- viral copies of book available online and hilarious!!

matana Sun 22-May-11 10:04:59

Some improvement! 6.20am! Happy with that grin

MissRedIndie Sun 22-May-11 12:24:40

Nice work ladies!! We also had an incredibly respectable 6.50am here, very pleasing...!

GoingLoopyLou Sun 22-May-11 17:28:22

Am trying this tonight. Do not want another 5.40am start! Will report back tomorrow.

MissRedIndie Sun 22-May-11 17:47:54

Raggedy, or anyone else who has been doing this for a while, how long do you have to keep doing the evening light thing for in order to maintain a later wake time? Am I now stuck with going for a walk every night before bedtime?? Sometimes I am too lazy busy to fit this in, but don't want to lose any possible lie-ins!

SpawnChorus Mon 23-May-11 17:33:30

Well, I'm almost scared to get my hopes up but ds2 (1.8) has been awake by 5.15 very morning for months and months. In fact he's never managed an unbroken night's sleep. Last night we took him for a walk at about 5.30, and he was in bed at 7.15. He woke up this morning at 6.20 shock shock

Can't believe it...really hoping it's not a coincidence. Although there's a storm blowing outside at the moment. Not sure I fancy venturing out with him. Still probably the lesser of two evils though!

oremstango Tue 24-May-11 08:59:53

Not much luck the last two mornings but still trying things out here...

SpawnChorus Tue 24-May-11 11:07:22

Had a brisk walk round the block at about 5.45. Bedtime went badly, and DS2 woke up LOADS between 3 and 4.30. Ended up in bed with us, and slept until 6.30. Not really sure if that's an improvement on the 5am wakings confused. It has been known for him to have a v unsettled night, and still be up at 5am, so I guess it could have been worse.

NoTeaForMe Tue 24-May-11 11:16:34

Ooh, I'm going to try this!! My 7month old is waking up at 5.30 ish 6am is the latest we've had in a long time....too early for me and then she's v tired by 8.30 and it's hard to get in all her food as she's still not really hungry til just before 7ish and she doesn't want to eat if she's tired or too hungry still! Also I find after dinner is a bit of a lull in the day, maybe a nice walk toys the garden or something will be good, pushchair would be dangerous as she'd fall asleep I think! Hmm..... Thanks for the tip!

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