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Don’t ‘Fall Back’ into Bad Sleep – Daylight Savings Time Sleep Tips

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If I had it my way, I would not do daylight savings time. Changing the time really does affect the sleep patterns of children and adults. Even when we ‘fall back’ it can be very disruptive to our sleep patterns.

As a Child Sleep Consultant and a parent, I don’t want something as silly as daylight savings time goofing up our young children’s sleep.  So, here are my best tips to handle daylight savings time in order for it be as least disruptive to your children’s sleep as possible.

#1 Leave the clocks alone

This one is actually for you, parents! On Saturday night leave the clocks alone so it’s not a psychologically upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After you get your coffee, then go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!

Since smartphones update automatically, try to rely on a clock you have to set manually or set your phone to not automatically update the time under your “Date & Time” settings.

#2 Split the difference

Adjust your child’s naps and bedtime to 30 minutes earlier for the first three days following the time change. Let’s say your child usually naps at 12:30 PM and goes to bed at 7:00 PM. I recommend putting that child down for nap at 12:00 PM and to bed at 6:30 PM for three days. Keep in mind that this will FEEL like 30 minutes LATER to your child.  It will be a bit of a push, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule.

On the fourth day, adjust your child’s naps and bedtime back in line with the clock.

#3 Be Patient

It is going to take roughly one week for your child’s body (and yours, too) to adjust to this change. We notice the impact of the time change more in little children because they tend to be more structured with going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

#4 Darkness Rules

Make sure you have a good set of black out shades. Once you adjust back to ‘clock’ time, help your child continue to sleep until the normal time per their clock by making sure their room stays dark when the sun starts to rise an hour earlier!

#5 Adjusting Wake Up Times

For toddlers over the age of 2, use an ‘ok to wake’ clock. Set the clock forward 30 minutes so that at 6:30 it says 7:00 AM and let them get up a little earlier than normal for the first few days after the time change. After you adjust their bedtime back to their normal time, adjust their ok-to-wake clock time back so they will be on track and sleep until their normal wake-up time.

Babies unfortunately won’t understand an ‘OK to wake’ clock, so you get to be their clock! When you hear your baby waking up, do not rush in! You don’t want to send a message that getting up at 6:00 AM is now okay. So, if baby normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait 10 minutes the first day before going to get baby. Then you wait until 6:20 the next day, then 6:30 the next. By the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the time with them waking up at their usual hour.

The time change is unfortunately going to affect sleep patterns for everyone in the house. The good news is that it should only take about a week to get everyone’s sleep back on track!

As a Child Sleep Consultant and owner of Sleep, Love and Happiness Sleep Consulting, Bonnie helps families make quality sleep a reality, through personalized, gentle sleep solutions. If you are facing sleep struggles with your child that don’t stem from the time change, you can schedule a free sleep evaluation call with Bonnie and get on the path to great sleep today!

Bonnie is a Denver native and lives here with her husband, daughter and two fur babies. She can be reached at or 720-506-3040.



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