Daylight Savings and Sleep Schedules

Along with trying to remember how to set your oven and car clocks back an hour, we also have to deal with not only our disrupted schedules but our little ones who finally are on a good sleep cycle and sleeping soundly through the night. 

Everyone should get a big pardon the week that we set the clocks back. We are all either very early, or very late, and collectively, all very tired. 

Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby and their sleep experts have great tips on how to manage daylight savings time and fall back without falling out of synch. 

If you have a toddler be sure to read below the easiest way to handle the time change transition. Hint: it might surprise you!

Falling Back in Time

While by now you know with any sleep changes it will take some time to readjust to a new sleep cycle, and not only are you trying to help your little one through this, remember you also need to focus on your schedule and make sure you are getting enough sleep, too! 

The next week is going to be the biggest hurdle to get through during this transition. If you are a coffee drinker, your biggest battle is figuring out how to set the automatic timer on your coffee machine so at least you have a hot cup of coffee ready for you as you rub your eyes and with it, the residue of Mr. Sandman who so kindly left a little extra this week. 

Tick Tock, Set the Clock…or not? 

While this is a great name for a children’s book, this is also the advice of our sleep consultants. What we mean is, you do not need to rush ahead on Saturday night and make sure everything is set. You have all day on Sunday to set the clocks. Psychologically, it makes for a better night sleep on Saturday if you leave the clock changes until Sunday. Your brain will allow you to sleep as you normally would, and you are not waking up already focusing on it being an hour earlier. 

Get up, have your coffee, breakfast, and regroup a little. Then go about setting the clocks that do not automatically reset. You will feel less stressed about the time change and this will give you the extra energy you need to work through the changes with your child. 

Time Transition 

Because we have not yet mastered telekinesis, our babies will have no idea that the time has changed. Alas, it has, and while they can’t tell time, they will be aware something is changing. Our sleep experts have great tips on how to help your little one adjust to the disruption to their schedule. 

Start Slow

Slow and steady wins the race. Dialing back naptime and bedtime a little bit every day will cause the least amount of disruption and will create an easier transition into the new schedule. Start off with 30-minute increments. 

Continue the 30-minute schedule for three to four days, with the fourth day setting the bedtime back the full hour. As they have already grown accustomed to the half-hour difference, the hour will have very little disruption, if any. 

What Does This Look Like Exactly?

If your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:00 am, move it up to 8:30 am for three to four days. It might push them a little, but they can handle it! You would do the same with the afternoon nap.

Example:

  • Nap 1 – 9:00 am would be 8:30 am (feels like 9:30 am)
  • Nap2 – 2:00pm would be 1:30pm (feels like 2:30pm)

What About Bedtime?

If your little one usually goes to bed at 7 pm, I recommend the same 30-minute difference here as well. You would do this Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then ideally be back to their usual 7 pm by Wednesday.

Example: 

  • Bedtime – 7:00 pm would be 6:30 pm (feels like 7:30 pm)

We’re Going Old School

For your toddlers, if you can find a digital clock, this can be a useful tool in helping them understand what time they go to bed, and what time they can get out of bed when they wake up. Set their clock back the 30-minutes as discussed above, taping over the minutes so they only see the first digit on the clock. Walmart, Target, and Amazon all still have digital clocks available. 

Pro tip: if you had a toddler. Feel free to make this time change adjustment “cold turkey.” It is actually my favorite way to handle the time change! 

Internal Clocks 

While toddlers can start to learn time with the digital and wall clocks, our younger children can’t, and they use their internal clocks to let them know what time to wake up each morning. 

If you have a young infant who’s day is based on “awake times” – then there is no need to adjust anything. When they wake up on Sunday proceed with their day as usual based on their awake times.

Daylight savings may or may not continue, though while it does these are great tips that will help you adjust your little one’s sleep and wake schedules. 

As always, our certified sleep consultants at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby are always happy to work with you, and we can work with you from virtually anywhere! Give us a call, send us an email, or sign up on our website. We look forward to working with you and your child! 

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