the green light to sleep in

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After seeing the results I feel like I have to share my review with other parents who may benefit from a Hatch. I already left a glowing Amazon review and while I was writing such a long novel of a review I thought—this could be a blog post!

Our 3 year old (4 next month) Sam has always been a great sleeper. An excellent sleeper really. He is a Babywise baby through and through.
If you aren’t super familiar with that—I can’t recommend it enough. We basically did “Eat Wake Sleep” in that order every 3 hours-ish and stuck to a schedule. There is more to it than that and my love for the Babywise method is a whole different post that I may do one day!

My point is, from around 3 or 4 months of age, Sam started sleeping from 7:00pm-7:00am and not waking up at night. This continued until he was around 2 years old and we changed his bedtime to 7:30pm but he slept until 7:00am pretty much every morning unless he was sick.

 I take no credit for this and only have the book Babywise to thank for it— our second son was also a Babywise baby and while not quite as easy at first, he was also eventually a wonderful sleeper—so check it out!).

Anyway, early wakings were not something we had to navigate this far in our parenting journey other than the occasional sleep regression with our youngest, Tom. Sam loved sleep so much the sleep regressions missed him! We lucked out big time.

This summer both of our boys even had some weekend mornings where they’d sleep til more like 8:00am and 8:30am. Hallelujah.

Sometime into the fall, Sam started creeping back to an earlier wake time until it was more consistently 6:30am. This obviously wasn’t a huge deal, but we do try to be ready ourselves first and then get the kids ready/feed
breakfast/pack lunches etc. So his waking up at 6:30 was kind of cutting into my hair and make up time, ha!

Other that looking less than my best, I didn’t worry 🙂

I did not think we had a problem on our hands until his new waking time got to be closer to 6:00am. And then, the time change happened and 6:00am turned to 5:00am. The final straw was one week in early Nov where Sam woke me up at 4:45am and 4:55am several days in a row.

Just my opinion…but if the time on the clock doesn’t even start with a 5 yet, that’s the middle of the night, not the crack of dawn.

Fun side note—he really preferred waking me up…not so much his dad. Kids do have it out for their mother’s sleep sometimes 🙂

We tried making his bedtime later, we tried being stricter and just saying he couldn’t get out of bed until we came to get him, we tried sending him back to his room each time he woke up at and BEFORE the crack of dawn, we tried saying just get in bed with us and go to sleep.

None of it worked.

See here a picture of Sam who had been sent back to his room multiple times from 5:00am-6:00am on a Saturday only to wind up getting bored in his room, putting on a warewolf costume and water shoes, and coming to crash by our bed. He had tossed every shoe he owns out of his closet searching for the summer shoes.

Amusing? yes. How I want every morning to start? ehhhh.

I was especially bummed out that those early mornings when Sam was up an hour before normal we usually let him play a game on our phone or even start a cartoon and he really doesn’t need any more screen time than he already gets.

What had happened to our awesome sleeper of over 3 year?! Was this payback for not having to spend the first year of his life as sleep deprived parents?

I got to thinking that this could be a developmental leap ( I am a baby book freak, this developmental leap is referring to another one of my favorites—The Wonder Weeks).

Anyway, by developmental leap, I mean that I wondered if he was just getting older and had developed enough so that when he was waking in the morning he was mature enough and independent enough to start thinking about his day, what he was going to do, who he might see, and how it was going to go. So much so that he couldn’t get back to sleep.

He had actually recently begun saying “What are we doing today?” each morning when I woke him up (back in the good ole 7:00am days).

Also, I thought maybe he was having a hard time shutting out outside sounds like a garbage truck or my hair dryer or even birds chirping. In the past it may have just all been white noise to his little brain, but now perhaps he had developed into an older, more curious little boy who heard sounds that meant—New day! Wake up!

I needed a way to teach him when an acceptable time to start his day was, but he wasn’t quite old enough to read numbers. I did some Google research that led me to colored nightlights and “time to wake” alarms. I had heard of them but had no need so far. There are quite a few options to choose from.

This is very unlike me, but I went with the most expensive option—the Hatch. I read way too many negative reviews on the other ones. So many of them had weird quirks like a “yellow” stage where it’s okay to be awake but not leave the room which to me just encouraged more water shoe time. Anyway I didn’t want to just confine him to his room, I wanted him to get his sleep.

Another perk is that the Hatch was the only option that was both sound machine AND sleep trainer. The reviews glowed.

If we ever have another baby, our boys will share a room for a while. I told myself the Hatch would be an investment and something I think will come in very handy in a shared room so they won’t wake each other up.

So, how does it work?

It’s basically a sound machine and night light that can play a wide variety of sounds and display a very wide array of colors in any level of brightness. It can do color and sound at the same time or one or the other on their own. You set the programs on your phone on their free ap and it uses Bluetooth. And you can even go in and change it once the kid is sleeping (if you wanted).

I set ours up to be very simple. A dim red glow that they say enhances sleep (who knew?) starts at 7:45pm and plays a soothing white noise. At 7:00am, the noise stays on but the color changes to green. At 7:15am it goes off all together.

I decided to keep the noise running even as the green light turns on just to it wasn’t a jolt into silence that seemed like an alarm to wake up. Maybe he’d want to sleep til 7:02 and would like the white noise, despite the color of the Hatch? Anyway, you could pick countless ways to set this up.


How has it worked?

Better than I ever would have imagined.

Here is a little mantra we came up with so he’d remember—“red, red, stay in bed.” Of course we explained he could get up to go to the bathroom. However, we said he could not come wake up mommy and daddy until it was green.

On day 1 Sam came to us around 6:30am and told us it wasn’t green
yet. I had to laugh a little. So we explained again and tried again for night 2. That next morning he bolted out of his room at 7:00am yelling “it’s green it’s green!” He did this for the next 3 or 4 days. Technically, it was working.

However, he told us he was “waiting and waiting” for it to turn green. The light had given him a rule and he had obeyed it, but was it really solving the underlying problem of him waking up at the crack of dawn? It wasn’t…not yet at least.

I did some more research and I had this theory that he was no different than any normal adult. Many times I wake up at 4:00am or whenever it may be. I wonder briefly if it’s time to wake up. I glance over at my phone, the numbers confirm that it is not, so I roll over and go back to bed. I may even do that same thing at 6:00am if it’s a weekend.

I stay in bed until my clock tells me otherwise—not laying there waiting on the minutes to pass by, but usually going right back to sleep.

Sam was also waking up at odd hours wondering if it was the right time to get up, but now the light was instructing him whether or not it was. At first he was so excited for it to turn green, he never went back to sleep. But as time went on, there would be a day or two here and there where Sam would sleep through his green light “alarm” and we’d have to wake him up after 7:00am to get ready.

We have had the Hatch for a little over a month and Sam has slept in past the green the last 3 days in a row as well as 3 days last week. I think he is learning to allow himself to go back to sleep and get needed rest before it’s the right time to wake up!

(Yes, I am aware I just officially jinxed us.)

Who knows if my theory about the developmental leap was right. I am fairly confident, though, that he was developing a bad new habit that may have gone on too long and been quite hard to correct. Then again maybe it was a weird stage and he would have gone  back to sleeping in on his own.

Either way, I am so thrilled with the Hatch and all of it’s functions, and really do think it will come in handy should we ever have our two young boys sharing a room.

And in case you are wondering—I only wish I got a free Hatch for this review…but I did not. The opinion here is not sponsored in any way.

Anyone out there ever experienced this sudden shift in toddler wake time? I am still curious about it. If you do have this issue and haven’t tried a light yet… I obviously recommend the Hatch!

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