Time change is almost upon us as we “fall back” when Daylight Savings Time comes to an end. Although we gain an hour during the fall, although it’s typically easier to adjust to than in the spring time, if you’ve already got an early riser, this time change can leave some parents rolling their eyes! Just think, that regular 6am wake up is going to be 5am on the clock Sunday morning- yikes!
So how do we deal with this adjustment?
On Sunday after time change, the sun is going to be rising an hour earlier on the clock than what we’re used to, during those early hours when our little ones have a night full of rest under their belt and their melatonin (sleepy hormone) is at a low, that sun shining in can lead to an earlier-than-ideal wake up! Oh no! Make sure that this doesn’t happen by preparing beforehand, blackout their room so it’s like a cave, the darker, the better! There’s tons of hacks that you can use, tape your blackout blinds to the windows, put up garbage bags, carboard, thick wrapping paper, whatever you’ve gotta do. I’m so happy we switched to a more permanent solution at our household, we use Blackout EZ blinds and absolutely love them!
If your little one doesn’t sleep in past their regular time as you’d hope, don’t worry, their body is so used to getting up at their regular time. Try leaving your little one in their room until their regular wake up time if possible ie. If they’re happy or sleeping. If this isn’t possible because they are upset, at least try to stretch them to a later time, so you aren’t promoting the extra early wakes. Even if it’s only 15 min a day, it will help shift their day ever so slightly in the right direction. For toddlers who can get out of their bed on their own, don’t forget to reset their clock to help them out with the process. The clock that we have at home is the Little Hippo Mella (Click HERE to use Code: SLEEPYBUNNY10 for 10% off any Little Hippo product.).
And last but not least, make sure you get outside lots during the day! Our body clocks are regulated based on sunlight so being outside in the natural light helps not only your little ones but yourself to adjust to the new schedule quicker, something we all want!
Ok now how do we deal with their sleep schedule?
For younger little ones (babies) and more sensitive sleepers, it can be easiest on their system to prepare in advance. Do this by slowly shifting their whole schedule later by 10-15 minutes every few days in the week before time change. This would look like getting your little one up at 7:15am when they normally have a 7pm-7am schedule. You’d continue by putting them down and waking them up 15 minutes later for all of their naps and putting them down at 7:15 that night for bedtime as well. You’d continue shifting this to be 7:30-7:30 and then 7:45-7:45 in the days before time change. Then, once time change hits, you switch their schedule back to their regular 7-7 schedule and for them, it’ll barely feel any different!
Here’s a screengrab of how this would look:
Tips for older babes and very adaptable sleepers:
For toddlers, more adaptable sleepers and those who were too busy or forgot about time change-oops! this is for YOU! Your plan is going to take a much quicker approach to adjusting, your game plan is to “split the difference”. The time on the clock and their body clock are going to be out by 1 hour so you’re going to split the difference and push them to the halfway mark between for about 3 days to allow for a slightly more gradual change. If we use the 7-7 schedule as an example again, you’d wake them at 6:30am (instead of 6am which would feel like their regular 7am), shift all of their naps then put them down at 6:30pm (feels like 6pm). After allowing for three days for their bodies to get used to the new schedule, you’d switch it back to their original schedule. See below for a screen grab of this strategy:
Option # 3 is to go cold turkey! To simply roll with the punches and deal with it for the few days after time change happens. Yes, there’s going to be some early wakes, yes, there’s going to be some overtiredness, but at least you don’t have to do any mental math right? Not going to lie, this is about all that I have the mental capacity for since becoming a mama!! Anyone else?
Regardless of which method you use, it’s important to have patience with your little ones. It’s hard for our bodies to adapt to this unnatural change so it takes some time. It’s such a big deal that the days following the start and end of Daylight Savings Time have been found to show changes in occurrences of heart attacks and traffic accidents! Crazy!
Do note though that post time change, if your little one’s sleep issues are still there after 2 weeks of trying to adjust, reach out to me for help going your little one back on track! I’d love to help your family get back into a sustainable sleep routine.
Let’s get some sleep!