Sleep strategies for the end of Daylight Savings Time
Remember the good old days before you had kids when turning back the clocks in the fall meant getting an extra hour of sleep? Now…not so much. If your child normally wakes up at 6 am, they’ll be waking up at 5 am on Sunday instead. (Yay!) That night, they’ll probably konk out well before their bedtime, but they’ll be up bright and way-too-early again the next morning. That is, unless you plan ahead for daylight savings by helping your baby or toddler shift their internal clock beforehand. It’s actually pretty easy.
Step 1. Gradually move bedtime and wake-up later.
Pediatric sleep experts recommend starting to nudge your baby’s bedtime and wake-up times forward in small increments, about week before the time change. Every night or two, move your little one’s bedtime 10 to 15 minutes later (starting with their bedtime routine) and wake them 10 to 15 minutes later in the morning. If they wake on their own, hold off for 10 - 15 minutes until you go in to get them. They most likely won’t go back to sleep and may cry but try to hold off if you can—it’s worth it! If you have a toddler, a “good morning light” that’s set to turn on when it’s time to wake up can be a helpful technique here. By Sunday, your baby’s schedule should be fully adjusted or close to it, and the time change won’t be too rough.
Check out the chart below for a day-by-day guide to follow.
Download a printer friendly version here.
Step 2. Use the dark side.
To help your baby sleep later in the morning, make sure their room is as dark as possible, so they’re less likely to wake up when it starts to get light. This is especially important once daylight savings time ends. Remember, if sunrise was at seven a.m. before, it will be at six a.m. once you turn back the clocks. Hopefully your baby’s internal clock will have adjusted by then and the light won’t be a problem, but shades or darkening curtains may help seal the deal.
Step 3. Don’t freak out!
If you haven’t managed to successfully adjust your baby’s sleep schedule before daylight savings time ends, or everything falls apart once you fall back, don’t panic. Just keep making gradual adjustments to your baby’s schedule and before you know it, your baby’s sleep—and yours—will be back on track. You can do this!