Don’t let sleep Fall Back with the clocks!

Daylight Savings Time sleep solutions

It’s that time of year again; cool mornings, the changing of leaves, pumpkins all around, and day light savings.  Ah, yes, the dreaded daylight savings.  Long gone are the days of enjoying that extra hour of sleep.  On November 2, 2014, daylight savings will end and your clocks will fall back one hour.

Keep in mind, that the time change is amplified when it comes to your child.  The adjustment needs to be managed closely to ensure continuing productive sleep.

Know Your Child
For many aspects of life, it’s helpful to know your child and their temperament.  Does your little one become easily flustered with a small change of schedule?  Or is your child laid-back when it comes to their sleep schedule?  Despite who your child is, it’s especially important to note how your child adjusts to their sleep schedule when it comes to daylight savings.

In order to make the transition simpler, it’s best to begin 3-5 days prior to daylight savings.  A slow shift in time is better for most children.  The Monday prior to daylight savings, start shifting your child’s schedule 15 minutes later.  Start at nap time, so what was an 8:30am nap will begin at 8:45am.  Shift bedtime as well.  Continue to move back sleep by 15 minutes every two days, until you reach November 2nd.  By daylight savings you will be close to the new adjusted time with a later bedtime and hopefully later wakeup as well.  The younger your child, the more important it is to take a gentle approach such as this.  Note, if your child begins to wake up earlier due to the shift, STOP, reestablish good sleep before adjusting time again.

Time to Adjust
For “go with the flow” type children, daylight savings may not need much preparation.  On the night of November 1st, put your child to bed at their normal time or slightly later (by 15-30 minutes).  Hopefully, they wake at their normal time or a little later on November 2nd, even though the clock is an hour earlier.  Continue to help them acclimate by adjusting their nap.  For example, the clock will be at 1 pm, but, their body feels like it is noon.  Have them in bed at 1:30 (new clock time).  It is fine if it then takes them a bit longer to fall asleep and adjust to their new schedule.

Survival Tips
• Write it out.  To help with the confusion of timing (old time vs. new time), write out your plan of action.
• Shift all times, not just sleep times.
• Crucial are the blackout shades.  After daylight savings you will see a little more light in the morning.  You want to keep your child’s room dark as possible to assist their sleeping.
• Get outside in the morning sun!  Natural sunlight helps reset your child’s internal clock.  Go outside for 15-30 minutes in the morning, especially after daylight savings, to help them (and you!) adjust.
• Continue to leave your child until 6:00am, the new time.  If your baby wakes earlier, let them hang out as long as you are comfortable.  This transition may be too big to achieve immediately, so continue to work on it all week.  Make your goal a wake-up of no earlier than 6:00am.
• Being consistent with the time change, your child should fully adjust within two weeks.  Be patient, yet persistent.

Valerie Birch

Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant at Amazing Little Sleeper
Valerie Birch is a Pediatric Sleep Expert for exhausted families who have tried evvvvverything to get their child to sleep.

Through her informative and supportive blog posts and one-on-one help, she’s here to guide your child into restorative naps and peaceful nights - while making you wonder why you didn’t contact her sooner.

When she’s not consulting?You’ll find her hanging with her 2 children, getting her sweat on at the gym or baking and indulging in warm ooey-googey chocolate-chip cookies….hobbies that balance each other out!

Meet Valerie + prepare yourself for Amazing Sleep ahead…
Valerie Birch

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