Remember the pre-parenting days when the days would get shorter, the nights crisper and the urge to get cozy would hit? When we didn’t spare a second thought about the end of daylight savings time?! Those were the days!
Then your baby arrived and you started obsessing about sleep. If you’re like most new parents, you aren’t getting enough sleep, so the end of daylight savings time may be daunting. Why? Because your baby can’t tell time and doesn’t know that 6am is now actually 5am. All your baby knows is that she got the sleep she normally gets and is wide-eyed ready to take on the day! If you’re a seasoned parent you know that this can easily disrupt naps and bedtimes for days or even weeks to come as you struggle to get adjusted to the time change.
Well, you’re in luck! Co-owner and Pediatric Sleep Coach, Lauren, has some tips to help make this transition easy and to insure everyone gets great sleep!
Slow & Steady
If you’ve ever traveled to another time zone, you know how jarring the time change can be. Your brain knows that it’s not “time for bed”, but your internal clock is screaming for you to go to sleep! The end of daylight savings time can have the same affect. To ease the time leap, Lauren recommends gradually adjusting your baby’s sleep over the course of a week which eliminates the abruptness and helps him get used to the changes.
Starting about 4-5 days before daylight savings ends start your bedtime routine 10min later each day. If you normally start bath time at 6pm, start at 6:10. Once the time comes to turn back the clock, your baby will have adjusted to the routine being one hour later than usual, so that when she wakes up on Sunday morning she’ll be on track with the new time.
Every baby adjusts differently and some babies are more adaptable than others. If your baby is not as sensitive to schedule changes, different nap times or bedtimes, then you can probably shift things in 2-3 days by pushing everything back by 15-30mins each day. The concept is the same with just less time needed to adjust to the hour time change.
Keep it Dark
Black-out shades are one of those sleep tools that we swear by. If you don’t already have black-out shades in your baby’s room - GET THEM. Just like adults, your baby has a circadian rhythm or internal clock that responds to light and dark. Babies don’t fully develop this until 3-4 months of age, but it’s never too early to utilize the shades. A dark room assists in melatonin production (the “sleep” hormone) helping communicate to your baby’s body that it should stay asleep a little longer. These can be utilized for naps as well as bedtime.
Babies LOVE consistency and routine. Trust us on this. So, other than adjusting the nighttime time gradually, do your best to keep everything else the same. The same bedtime routine, the same timing between naps, etc. This will help reduce any confusion and keep your baby none the wiser!
be patient & FIX IT LATER
If your schedule as a family isn’t super structured and you don’t have a regular bed time, that’s ok. The time change may not affect you too much. But if it does, it’s important to be patient. If you find yourself reacting instead of avoiding, don’t stress. It may take a anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks for your baby to adjust to the time change and for things to get back on track. Make sure your baby’s last nap isn’t ending too late into the afternoon and try implementing some calming activities before bedtime to prep body and mind for falling asleep at a new bedtime. Know that within time your baby’s internal clock will adjust to this new change and things will go back to normal.
If things have completely gone of the rails it can never hurt to reach out for help from a sleep expert. Lauren provides live-in support to help babies sleep independently and peacefully. You can read more about her sleep training support and request more information here.
Experienced parents, what tactics have you used to adjust to the seasonal time changes? Share your wisdom in the comments below!