What the Daylight Saving time change 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.
On Sunday, March 12th, 2023 at 2 am we “Spring Forward” with the Spring time change to welcome the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Although the spring forward time change brings brighter mornings and longer days, many parents fear this time change as it may also bring early wakings leading to cranky, sleep-deprived children (and parents!).
Fear not!! The “Spring Forward” time change is actually less disruptive to your child’s sleep than the Fall Back or end of Daylight Savings time change. In fact, those of you with an earlier riser may actually feel like you are getting a bit more sleep this weekend! WIN!!
How does the Daylight Saving time change affect my baby’s sleep?
We essentially lose an hour of sleep with the Daylight Saving time change and it can take your child’s body’s natural circadian rhythms a few days (or even a bit longer) to adjust to a time change. When the times of the clock shift, our bodies’ sleep clock now has to adjust as well. Although it may be tempting to stay up later and enjoy that extra time in the sun, stick to your child’s schedule and lean into those early bedtimes to allow the body time to adjust.
How to prepare for the Daylight Saving time change?
Set your child’s room up for sleep to help them get the sleep they need during this time change.
Sleep Environment Set Up
- Darken the room. The sun will be peaking in earlier and staying up later so a dark room will help your little one prepare for sleep. Add blackout shades to help keep the room dark for sleep.
- Add a white noise. Birds (and your neighbors) may also be waking earlier. White noise can help drown out house and nature noises that may wake our little ones before they are ready
- Adjust your child’s toddler alarm clock. If you are using a toddler alarm clock, don’t forget to adjust the time before you go to bed so it is easier for your child to understand when it is time to wake for the day.
How to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule for the Spring Forward Daylight Saving time change?
Knowing whether your child is a sensitive or adaptable sleeper may actually help you decide how to adjust your child’s schedule for the Spring time change.
If your baby is a sensitive sleeper you may want to consider making minor scheduled adjustments over several days to help them adjust to the new times of the clock.
Here are some characteristics of sensitive sleepers:
- Struggles to sleep in a new sleep environment
- Easily aroused by noises or lights
- Gets over stimulated by noises, lights and other distractions
- Needs a sleep prop or parent to go to sleep and/or stay asleep
For sensitive sleepers, adjust their wake times, sleep times, and feedings by 15-30 minutes each day to help them ease into this new time.
If your baby is an adaptable sleeper, you may just adjust your child’s sleep schedule to the new time of the clock on Sunday.
Here are some characteristics of adaptable sleepers:
- Is able to sleep elsewhere but prefers their own sleep environment
- Sleeps through noises or minor light disruptions
- Confidently falls asleep independently
- Well-rest and can be flexible when needed
If your child is well-rested, set your clocks ahead and enjoy the extra sleep. And that is it! Don’t forget to adjust their toddler alarm clocks before bedtime too!
Spring Forward Time Change Sleep Tips for the Whole Family
Regardless of whether or not you shift your baby’s schedule gradually or just jump right in, it will take a bit of time for our bodies to adjust to the spring forward time change.
Here are a few tips to help everyone in your family adjust to the time change:
Time Change Sleep Tips for the Family
- Early bedtimes. A few nights of offering a bit more sleep can help everyone get back on track after the time change.
- Get outside. Enjoy the bright light in the morning and then dim lights in the evening to help your biological sleep clock stay on track.
- Reduce screen time. The use of screens prior to sleep can suppress melatonin and activate the brain. Refrain from using screens at least an hour before sleep.
Finally, if your family is a well-rested family, they should easily respond to transitions like these.
Don’t forget! As you are changing all your clocks this weekend, test and change the batteries in your home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to help keep everyone safe.