Daylight Saving Sleep Tips for your Baby: Fall Back Time Change

What the end of Daylight Saving time means for your baby, how the time change will affect your baby’s sleep and how to adjust your baby’s schedule so you can help your baby get the sleep they need to achieve their dreams.

As the impending time change looms, you might be losing sleep wondering how it’ll impact your baby’s schedule. Worry not! I’m here to help you navigate sleep during this time change to make it a smooth transition for your baby. So, go ahead and reheat that PSL (chances are if you have a baby, it is probably cold by now!), snuggle up and let’s dive in because Daylight Saving comes to a close on Sunday, November 5th, 2023, at 2:00 am.

How will the Daylight Saving time change affect my baby’s sleep?

It can take our body’s natural circadian rhythms a few days to adjust to a time change. This can mean a tired baby….and a tired parent! Shifting the times on the clock means our bodies will now have to adjust our schedule, too. You may be afraid that this time change may cause early morning wakings or even later bedtimes. Thankfully, a bit of preplanning can go a long way with helping your child adjust to the time change. 

Baby Sleep and Time Change: Baby sitting in leaves
Adorable baby girl with knit hat on in the fall leaves. Focus on her front hand.

How to Prepare for the Time Change: Fall Back

How you prepare for the Fall Back Time change may depend on the type of sleeper you have; sensitive or adaptable. 

Sensitive sleepers:

  • Challenging to sleep in a sleep environment other than their own
  • Aroused easily by noises or light disturbances
  • Hard to get to sleep when overtired
  • Easily (over) stimulated by noises, lights and other distractions
  • Relies on a sleep prop or parent to go to sleep and/or stay asleep

If you have a sensitive sleeper, consider shifting their schedule a few days ahead of the time change. This gives them a bit more time to adjust. 

Adaptable Sleepers:

  • Prefer their own sleep environment but able to sleep elsewhere or on the go
  • Sleep soundly through noises or light disturbances
  • Falls asleep confidently and independently
  • Is able to be flexible when needed because they are well-rested

If you have an adaptable sleeper, waiting to adjust to the time change on Sunday may be the best option. You can just move your child’s schedule to the new time of the clock.

Adjusting Baby’s Sleep For Time Change: Baby sitting during Fall day with yellow leaves in background

How to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule with the Fall Back time change?

Go gradual with your baby’s sleep schedule

Gradually shift their daily activities (including wake up, feeding, and sleep times) 10-20 minutes later over a few days. Continue making this adjustment until you have move the schedule by an hour. 

Example 2 Nap Daylight Saving Sleep Schedule

Sleep ActivityCurrent ScheduleThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
(Clock after Time Change)
Wake Up6:30am6:45am7:00am7:15am6:30am
Nap 18:30am8:45am9:00am9:15am8:30am
Nap 212:15pm12:30pm12:451:00pm12:15pm
Bedtime6:30pm6:45pm7:00pm7:15pm6:30pm
Daylight Saving Sleep Schedule: 2 Nap Example

For example, on Thursday, move their routine (and wake up time) a bit later. Continue to move their sleep schedule throughout the weekend so that when Sunday comes everyone will be adjusted to the time difference.

If adjusting your child’s sleep schedule by 15 minutes over several days feels too challenging, try adjusting by 30 minutes over 2 days.

Example 1 Nap Daylight Saving Sleep Schedule

Sleep ActivityCurrent ScheduleSaturdaySunday (Clock after Time Change)
Wake Up6:30am7:00am6:30am
Nap 12:15pm12:45 pm12:15pm
Bedtime6:45 pm7:15 pm6:45 pm
Daylight Saving Sleep Schedule: 1 Nap Example

Fall back early for Daylight Saving Sleep Adjustments

If a gradual option is too much trouble, try making the switch just one day earlier. Adjust your clocks to the new time on Friday night and follow the new time throughout the day on Saturday. This gives everyone one more day to adjust before the chaos of the week begins Monday. Just remember you adjusted the clocks earlier so that you are not late for any events Saturday! 

Do nothing but brew some extra coffee

If preplanning isn’t your thing, you may decide to just do nothing (except put the coffee on earlier)! Your child will simply wake up an hour earlier and you will keep their schedule the same. You may notice your little one is tired or hungry a little earlier so you will naturally adjust their schedule throughout the day.

Regardless of your approach, after a few days of patience and consistency (and more sleep) we should all be back on track! 

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Pediatric Sleep consultant, Kristi Roberts

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