Daylight Savings 2020 Fall Back Sleep Tips

daylight savings fall 2020 sleep tips
Christine Brown

Christine Brown

Parents dread nothing more than the end of Daylight Savings time change. Except maybe potty training!?

Our friends without kids are psyched for the extra hour of sleep. And we are secretly envious of the days when we were “so busy and so tired” before kids! But we get snuggles and baby kisses so I’ll take that over an extra hour of sleep any day!

On Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 2:00 am we will turn the clocks back one hour. This means your kiddo’s 6:30 am wake-up will now be at 5:30 am! To help prevent your little one from waking at an ungodly hour, we are sharing our Daylight Savings 2020 Sleep Tips below.

How the Time Change Can Affect Our Little Ones

  • When the time change happens and we set the clock back one hour, it doesn’t adjust our child’s internal clock.
  • Earlier wake time can throw off both naps and bedtime. This results in a cycle of your child being overtired and cranky.
  • Overtired kiddos = bedtime battles, night waking, restless sleep, early morning wake-ups and difficult naps. Not fun.

How to Prevent the Early Morning Wakeup

Choose from one of the three following strategies. These are based on your child’s current sleep patterns and his or her sleep flexibility. Choosing the right strategy can help you to navigate the end of Daylight Savings Time and help keep your little one well-rested through the time change.

Strategy #1: Stay the Course

Which child will benefit from this strategy?

  • Your baby or toddler sleeps well and is flexible
  • Your child is sleeping too late

If your child easily adapts to change and is a champion sleeper, you may not need to make any schedule adjustments.  Stay on your existing schedule times after the time change. For example, if your baby or toddler goes to bed at 7 pm, you’ll want to keep that bedtime after the change. This will result in stretching your child a little bit – what was previously 8:00 pm.  Within a few days after the time change, your child should likely adapt to the new schedule. Your child may have a couple of off-sleep days but should get back on track quickly.

This is also a great strategy for a child who loves to sleep in and you’d like your child to wake earlier. The time change will bump their wake time one hour earlier.

Strategy #2: Slow and Steady

Which child will benefit from this strategy? Your child…

  • Is sleeping well, but is not flexible
  • Wakes too early
  • Is 8 months or younger

Did your child transition well with Daylight Savings Time in the spring?  Does your child have a tough time adjusting to sleep schedule changes?  If you answered yes, you’ll want to look at making slow and steady progress in adjusting your child’s schedule.

Also, if your child is a perpetual early bird – waking before 6:00 am – or 8 months old or younger, they’ll also benefit from a gradual shift.

You’ll start moving your child’s entire sleep schedule later by 10-15 minutes every 1-2 days in the 7-10 days leading up to the time change. The thought is that by the time change, your child will be fully transitioned to the same schedule even though the time changed.

For example, if your child currently wakes at 6:30 am and you’d like to keep this wake time, start by moving the schedule later (wake time, naps and bedtime).  With the slow and steady change, she will begin waking at 7:30 am by the time change. When the time change finishes, your child should be waking up around 6:30 am and she won’t have any major impact on her schedule that will result in sleep falling apart.

Use this chart as a guideline on how to make a slow & steady adjustment:

daylight savings 2020 fall back sleep tips

Strategy #3: Meet in the Middle

Who will benefit from this strategy?

  • Parents who don’t have the time (or patience!) for a gradual change

Essentially, you will move your child’s entire schedule later by 20-30 minutes in the 2-3 days leading up to the time change.  Once the time change is complete, you only have a 30-minute sleep delta to work through. After the time change, begin working on moving your little one to the same schedule.  You can do this by introducing sleep at normal times. Within a week or so after the time change, your child should move back to their original wake time and original schedule before the time change.

A couple of additional tips and tricks:

  • The sun is your friend for adjusting internal clocks. Exposure to sunlight is the most effective tool for resetting to the new time. I recommend getting outside in the early morning hours for the first week after the time change.
  • Optimize your child’s sleep environment to ensure it is dark – this article provides tips and tricks on achieving optimal darkness. This will also help to reset your child’s internal clock.
  • Ensure that you are shifting all aspects of your routine later.  This includes feedings, naps and bedtime so everything falls into the new schedule.
  • Be patient.  Young children love consistency and need time for their bodies to adjust. This may take a week or so to fully adapt no matter which strategy you choose.

If you need help navigating the time change for your child or any other sleep challenge, please schedule a 15-minute get-to-know-you chat so we can learn more and answer any questions you have about working together.

We can totally help you move through this change and many other sleep challenges your child may be experiencing.

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