Kids & Company Blog

Fall Back: Tips to Handle Daylight Savings Time and Sleep

This blog is written by our guest author, Alana Metallo, Certified Sleep Consultant from MetaSleep Consulting. MetaSleep helps families navigate sleep and live a well-rested lifestyle. Through consultation, they educate, guide, and support families about the benefits of healthy sleep, and help parents create a customized sleep routine for their child’s naps and bedtime.

The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp, and sweater weather is upon us. It is also the end of daylight savings time where we will set our clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 5th. As the clocks move earlier, we are told we get an extra hour of sleep - except if you have a young child.

We are always looking to improve our children’s sleep. With the upcoming time change, there are ways families can prepare their child. You can plan ahead or just leave things as they are. If you choose to plan ahead, you will want to read some strategies below.

We all have an internal clock that dictates our wake times. The clock might say one thing, but your child’s body says another. During the fall back of time, your child is likely to wake earlier until their internal clock is programmed to wake up later. You can adjust the internal clock with the exposure to light.

You might be surprised when you try and put your child to sleep one hour later and expect they’re going to wake at their usual morning time. This change in time can change your child’s sleeping patterns and increase early morning awakenings.

There are strategies that can be implemented to help with the time change, which can facilitate a smoother transition.

Here are two options that can help to prepare for time change:

1. Gradual Approach:

  • Best for babies over 4 months old, early risers, or babies who get overtired easily.
  • Start 4 days before the time changes:
    • Delay sleep onset by 15 minutes each day. For example, if bedtime is 7pm, move to 7:15pm, 7:30pm, 7:45pm and then 8pm. On the day of the time change, your bedtimes will be aligned.
    • Keep things bright/light for that extra time in the evening.
    • Keep the room dark for an additional 15 minutes in the morning.

2. Split the Difference:

  • Best for children aged 1 or older and who don’t get tired as easily. 
  • Start 2 days before the time changes:
    • Delay bedtime by 30 minutes. For example, if bedtime is 7pm, push it to 7:30pm, then 8pm.
    • Keep lights on to help shift the internal clock.
    • Refrain from turning the lights on for 30 minutes in the morning. 
    • Shift feeding schedules by 30 minutes, if possible

In the days leading up to time change, you can practice good sleep hygiene by:

  • Establishing and maintaining consistent sleep routines.
  • Spending time outdoors.
  • Using blackout curtains/blinds
  • Gradually altering sleep times
  • For toddlers and older children: avoiding caffeine and sugar before bed 

Regardless of which method you choose to implement, early morning wakes may still happen at first. Our internal clocks are established and can take time to adjust.

Your child’s sleep will adjust with time. Take a deep breath, it will be ok, I promise! 

This blog is written by our guest author, Alana Metallo, Certified Sleep Consultant from MetaSleep Consulting. Kids & Company families can enjoy 15% off their Sleep Programs using code KIDCO15OFF.

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