There are few phrases that strike fear into the heart of a parent like daylight saving time. In the spring, everyone panics because they're losing an hour of sleep, so fall should be a breeze right? You're "falling back" with time and gaining an extra hour of sleep. Everything should be roses. . . until you realize this means your child will be falling asleep earlier than their usual bed time and waking up an hour earlier. (My kid wakes up at 5:30 a.m., so you can imagine what this does to me.) Knowing how to adjust your baby's sleep schedule for when daylight saving time ends, however, can make the entire household breathe a little easier. You'll still need coffee though.
I know — this sleep thing doesn't seem to get any easier, does it? Your baby is sleeping through the night and then they aren't. A cough one night throws off their whole sleep schedule for the week and a milestone like crawling or walking can turn your sweet little cherub into an energetic monster at 3 a.m. But daylight saving time can affect your baby's whole circadian rhythm, according to Today's Parent. It may only be an hour, but think of it like jet lag. An hour can throw even an adult's schedule off; a little baby doesn't stand a chance. They will be cranky, overtired, and so will you.
To help ward off those issues, here are a few things you can try to adjust your baby's sleep schedule depending on their current sleep patterns and behavior. I make no guarantees, but I can promise you this — it won't last forever.
1. If Your Baby Has A Strict Routine, Start Shifting Bedtime A Few Days Beforehand
If your baby can't handle being up ten minutes after her bedtime, start doing the work beforehand and adding in a gradual shift of bed and nap times. The Baby Sleep Site noted that a few days before daylight saving time ends, you can start gradually shifting your baby's bedtime to be later. So if your baby always goes to bed at 7 p.m. and you want that time to stay despite the change, use three or four days beforehand to start sliding the bedtime back. Put your little one to bed at 7:15, then 7:30, then 7:45, and so on until you reach 8:00, an hour before your baby's usual bedtime. Once the time change happens, your baby will be adjusted and will go to bed at their normal time, 7:00, without passing out too early.
2. If Your Baby Is An Easy Sleeper, Just Power Through
Some babies are great sleepers and can adapt easily. If this sounds like your little one, not only are you the envy of every mom out there, but your baby may just be able to power through according to Today's Parent. Although your baby won't get right in sync, you may be able to put them to bed at their usual time without an issue or only have to fight the nap time routine to make it all work.
3. If Your Baby Is Prone To Waking Up Early, Get Some Room Darkening Curtains
The trouble with daylight saving time ending is not only that it gets dark earlier, but the sun also rises earlier. If your child often wakes up with the sun (or slightly before it like my own early bird), then you might want to invest in some room darkening curtains to help keep them sleeping a little later according to The Bump. The website also noted that if you're comfortable leaving your baby in their crib for about 10 minutes after they wake up, this can keep them from getting up too early the rest of the week.
4. If Your Baby's Whole Schedule Is Off, Start Noticing Their Sleepy Cues
Sometimes no matter what you do, your baby's entire schedule is off. This idea also applies, however, if your baby didn't really have a schedule before day light saving time ended. Parents suggested creating a bedtime routine, despite the crankiness your child might experience, and watch your little one's sleepy cues to make sure you're getting them into bed when they need it.