Why Is Sleep a Struggle Over Weekends?


By Good Night Consultant

I always have a giggle over weekends because it seems like my phone is on steroids on a Saturday! My clients always phone me frantically because their children, who usually sleep so soundly during the week, struggle with their weekend sleep patterns.

Contrary to what you might think, weekends are not cursed! There is a valid explanation for the weekend-naptime-horrors:

1. Overstimulation.

Weekends are always filled with so much more activity; there are new faces of friends and family, the TV is on for longer, the baby’s older siblings are at home instead of at school…. No wonder children become more easily overstimulated during the weekend.

2. Routine is disrupted.

If your child is in day-care or at school, chances are that the routine you follow at home is not the same they follow at school. Also, our social calendars and our long “to-do-lists” over the weekend means our children do not eat or sleep or play when they usually would.

3. Daddy is home!

In households where dad tends to work long hours and spend limited time with the children during the week, the excitement of having dad home and spending time with him, makes children even less fond of sleep time.

 So what can you do over the weekend to keep your sanity?

1. Stick to your routine as much as possible. If your routine during the week includes having lunch, and then putting the baby down for a nap, make sure that over weekends you keep to the same routine.

2. Limit sweets and sugar! Too much caffeine and sugar is the main culprit over weekends. Stick to serving healthy meals as much as possible and if it is “treat” day, try and incorporate the treat earlier in the afternoon, before 4pm.

3. Be attentive your child’s age appropriate awake time. Do not keep your child awake for longer than usual.

4. Plan your trips as far as you can around your little one’s sleep time.

5. Ensure that there is no TV at least two hours before bed time.

6. Be consistent. Don’t let your child stay up later just because you have friends over.

7. Make sure your children spend enough time running around and playing outside, as well as getting exposure to natural daylight. Often, parents with a busy weekend tend to have their children’s eyes fixed on some type of screen, or stuck in the confined space of a shopping trolley or stroller.

If all else fails, remember that no matter what you do, Monday will come around soon enough, and things will get back to normal soon.