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Early Sunset, Early Bedtime!

Are you feeling blue when the sun sets SO early and it feels like night because its pitch black at 430pm (literally)?? Fret no more! I have awesome news for you. Are you ready? This is a total game changer! Early sunsets mean, early bedtime!!! WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!

You know how your kids are always super tired and waking up in the middle of the night for water/another tuck in/reassurance that monsters really aren’t under the bed? Then, they wake up at 5am for the day? Well what if I told you that there is a possibility (a pretty strong one, in fact) that your little one is actually overtired? Then, what if I told you that the easiest way to remedy this would be to put him/her to bed early? Would you reply, “No thanks, its super-fun to hang out with my kids from 5am until 8pm, especially on days when we are housebound from 4pm onwards because its too cold and dark to play outside”? Or, would you say “stop the presses, this woman is a genius!”?? If it's the latter, let me tell you more! If it's the former, well, you’re on your own Mama (just kidding, see a future post from me about fun things to do at home that don't require screens/anything new!).

Giving your kids an early bedtime to balance out early morning wake-ups or as a simple remedy for a way-too-late night yesterday, is a super easy way to help them get the sleep they need. Consider this, if your little one goes to bed at 8pm everyday and then consistently wakes at 530am, he/she is only getting 9.5 hours of sleep. Regardless, of his/her nap schedule, that just isn’t enough. So what if he/she went to bed at 7pm? I am willing to bet that he/she will either still wake at 530am, or even sleep a bit later. So now you’re wondering, “What’s the point if they’re still waking at 530am!?!” Well, the simple answer is that your little one just got an extra hour of sleep – only he/she got it on the front-end of the night rather than the back-end. Keep in mind that your little one’s day should not be exceeding 12/13 hours. So a 530am wake up, with naps that align with that early waking, should leave you with a bedtime of around 530/6/630pm. And while that might seem crazy to you, it won't seem crazy to your little one who is exhausted from a day of learning and exploring!

So take advantage of the early sunset. Let your little one see that its “nighttime” and don’t hesitate to get him/her off the bed early. I promise, no one will be regretful that their kiddos got an extra hour or two of sleep (even if they still wake early), and you got some much needed quiet time to eat dinner/catch up on emails/talk to your partner or, dare I say it… have an early bedtime yourself!

Samantha Shinewald, M.S.W. is a certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at

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