Daylight Saving Time Sleep Tips for Fall Back

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is coming to an end on Sunday November 6, 2022 (insert scary sound effect here!). If you’re a parent of young kids (like I am) you’re thinking it’s going to wreak havoc on your kiddo’s sleep. Let me reassure you– if your little one is currently sleeping well, the time change won’t be as hard as you might think. (Side note: if “currently sleeping well” isn’t how you would describe the state of sleep in your house then now is the perfect time to reach out to become a well rested family!)

So why is Daylight Saving Time ending so scary? Well, at 2 am on November 6th, the clock shifts back one hour to 1am which means if your child usually wakes up at 7 am, they’re body will now be ready to wake up at 6 am. Not so fun for you. And if their normal bedtime is at 7 pm their body will now feel like it’s only 6 pm at that time and they might struggle to fall asleep. 

I promise, your child will adjust in about a week and everything will go back to as it was. Use these Daylight Saving Time sleep tips to help you get there!

Tips to Prepare for DST

Darken Their Bedroom

Now I mean like super dark, not just kind of sort of dark. If 10 out of 10 is pitch black, you want their room to be at least a 9 out of 10 for both day and night sleep. Darkness signals your little one’s brain to make the sleepy hormone, melatonin so the darker the better when it comes to your child’s sleep environment. Darkening your child’s room is especially important at the end of DST because the sun will be coming up earlier. To avoid your child waking up with the early morning light, their room must be dark. 

  • Install high quality blackout curtains- not all brands are as dark as others
  • Secure the sides of the curtains with painter’s tape or Velcro so no light peaks in
  • If needed, use an additional window shade behind the blackout curtains

Have a Solid Daily Routine

If you already have a consistent soothing sleep routine then just keep at it. If you don’t, now is the time to create one. Kiddos thrive on routine so make sure you are consistent with their entire day from wakeup to meals to naps to bedtime. This will help them be prepared for the change and adjust afterwards.

Keep Your Little One Well Rested

Well rested kids are more flexible and bounce back easier so now isn’t the time to go off your sleep schedule. Keeping your child well rested leading up to the time change will help them adjust. If your child is having sleep problems currently, then reach out now so we can get you on track before Daylight Saving Time complicates things further!

Three Plans for Tackling “Fall Back”

The Keep Things As Is Plan

For kiddos who are flexible sleepers (like my youngest), this plan is the way to go. On Sunday 11/6, simply stay on your normal schedule based on the clock times. If your little one normally naps at 12 pm, continue putting them down at that same clock time. Same goes for all other sleep periods. This means you’ll be stretching them a little bit but, if you’re consistent, it won’t take your flexible sleeper long to adjust.

The Verrrrry Gradual Plan

For kiddos who are super sensitive to schedule changes or are early birds (like my oldest), this is the best plan. You’ll start shifting their entire schedule later by 15 minutes every 2 days starting on Saturday, 10/29.

If your current bedtime is 7 pm then the shift will look something like this:

  • 10/29-10/30: 7:15 pm bedtime
  • 10/31-11/1: 7:30 pm bedtime
  • 11/2-11/3: 7:45 pm bedtime
  • 11/4-11/5: 8:00 pm bedtime 
  • DST 11/6 and on: back to 7pm bedtime

Remember it’s important to shift their whole schedule, including morning wake time, meals and naps. This plan will only work if you have total control over the daytime schedule so I don’t recommend this approach for children in daycare.

The Slightly Gradual Plan – my choice!

This is the plan I’ll be going with. One- because I have one flexible sleeper and one sensitive sleeper so this is the happy medium. Two- because this mom really likes an early bedtime and if I have my kids awake past 7 pm for a week straight I might lose it and three- because no matter which plan I go with I know we’ll have a few rocky days and then it’ll all be ok again. 

Starting on Thursday 11/3, three days before the time change, shift your child’s schedule about 30 minutes later. For example, if your current bedtime is 7:00 pm then on Thursday through Saturday, bedtime will be around 7:30 pm. If your child is in daycare and still napping you can ask them to adjust the schedule as well for a couple of days but if they won’t simply start shifting on Saturday when their home instead.

Then on Sunday go back to your current schedule on the clock and your kiddo will only have to adjust 30 minutes instead of 1 hour. It will take them less than a week to fully adjust to the time change.

Bonus Tips:

  1. As your little one is adjusting and still waking on the earlier side, don’t get them up to start the day until the ‘ok to wake’ time AKA the time they used to wake up and start the day. Instead, let them stay in their dark quiet sleep space so their brain is getting the message that this is still sleep time.
  2. Use the sun to help your child’s body (and yours!) adjust to the change. Get out in the sun and in bright light during the day and then keep things super dark for sleep and as bedtime approaches.

Wishing you an easy “fall back”!

Sweet Dreams,

Stephanie at Catching Dreams

PS: If other sleep issues are occurring it may be hard to make these changes smoothly. Catching Dreams is always here to help whether it’s a little bump in the sleep road or a bigger challenge. Feel free to contact me or schedule a complimentary Intro Call here to discover how I can help. 

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