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Fall Back & Adjusting Your Baby’s Sleep For Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings 2022 - Prevent A Super Early Morning | Bella Luna Family - pinterest image
Christine Brown

Christine Brown

In September, I start getting questions about the end of Daylight Savings…

  • How is the time change going to affect my baby?
  • How do I prevent an early morning wake-up from the time change?
  • Why do we even do this?

These are great questions and this article will answer all but the last one! Here’s my take on that one…

Daylight savings is ridiculous and antiquated. There’s been talk that many states are considering permanent daylight savings time or permanent standard time. Unfortunately, no states have adopted legislative changes as of the date of this post. We can certainly keep the hope alive because parents have enough daily challenges to navigate without throwing in a time change!

When Is The Time Change?

Daylight Savings 2023 is on Sunday, November 5, 2023 at 2:00 am we will turn the clocks back one hour. This means when your child wakes at their normal time on that Sunday, say at 6:30 am, according to the new time it will actually be 5:30 am! 😱

via GIPHY

If you and Taylor are on the same page, let’s get you hooked up with the insight you need to prevent your little one from waking at an ungodly hour. Here is my guidance on fall back and adjusting your baby’s sleep for daylight savings…

How is the time change going to affect my baby?

For some children, this transition is easy peasy. And for others it can completely derail sleep, at least temporarily. Here’s why:

  • When the time change happens and we set the clock back one hour, it doesn’t adjust our child’s internal clock. This means your child will wake at their normal time, but this will actually be one hour earlier than usual.
  • Earlier wake times can throw off both naps and bedtime, affecting the ability to sleep and sleep quality. This can result in a cycle of your child becoming overtired and cranky. (I don’t know about you, but a too early wake time makes me a cranky mama!)
  • When children get overtired it usually results in bedtime battles, night wakings, restless sleep, early morning wake-ups, and difficult naps. “Oh goody!” said no parent ever.

To help make the adjustment as easy as possible on your child AND you, you’ve gotta have a plan! That plan may be winging it and that’s ok! But if winging it creates anxiety and cues panic, let’s get you prepared to create a plan.

Your Early Morning Wake-up Prevention Plan

To help make this process as seamless as possible, it is helpful to choose the right fall back adjustment strategy based on your family’s unique situation. Use these steps to choose the right plan for your family:

Step 1: Read all 3 of the daylight savings strategies below

Step 2: Choose the strategy that aligns most with your child’s temperament, while also considering your parenting and lifestyle.

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.

Time Change Fall 2022 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.  

WHAT TO DO:

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 – to 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.

Daylight Savings 2022 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 likely benefit from a gradual shift.

WHAT TO DO:

You’ll start moving your child’s entire sleep schedule later by 10 minutes every day in the 7 days leading up to the time change.

The thought behind this strategy 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 and all feedings).  

With the slow and steady change, your little one will hopefully 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 it won’t have any major impact on the schedule that will result in sleep falling apart.

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

chart showing how to adjust baby's schedule 10 minutes later each day in the week leading up to the fall time change.

Daylight Savings 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

WHAT TO DO:

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.  

For example, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to the time change, you will move your little one’s schedule 20-30 minutes later for all sleep periods and feedings. 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 as before the time change.  You can do this by introducing sleep at the 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.

Daylight Savings 2023 Sleep Tips No Matter Which Strategy You Choose:

  • The sun is your friend for adjusting internal clocks. Exposure to sunlight is the most effective tool at 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.

We hope these Daylight Savings 2022 sleep tips help!

If you need help navigating the time change for your child or any other sleep challenge, please schedule a discovery call where we can learn more and discuss how we can help you meet your sleep goals!

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