Daylight Savings Time: "Falling Back" Gracefully
Most people living in a region that observes Daylight Savings Time, enjoy the fall change. The clocks roll back by an hour and we get an extra hour of sleep. Unless, of course, you have children! The clocks may roll back, but children wake the next morning based on their circadian rhythm, not the time on the clock! This can make for early wakes during the fall time change.
So how should I handle the time change? Well, that depends on your family’s schedule as well as your child’s temperament. There are a couple of options:
1. Begin to prepare a week or two in advance. If your child is very routine and will find it difficult to adjust their bedtime abruptly by an hour, you may want to start ahead of time. For the fall change, you can begin moving bedtime later by 10 or 15 minutes every few days until you have reached a bedtime that is an hour later. This will make for a tired child unless you can also move their feed/nap times later as well and let them sleep in later in the morning. When the time change comes and the clocks move back an hour, their bedtime returns to its original time.
2. Make a partial change before and a partial change after. It may not be possible to move bedtime ahead by a full hour prior to the time change. In our family, for example, if we do this, our daughter will be sleeping too late in the morning to make it to preschool on time. We, therefore, will make a partial change before the time change, moving her bedtime ahead by 20-30 mins. Be prepared that your child will wake up early after the time change. Continue to adjust bedtime by 10-15 minutes every few days after the time change until bedtime and wake times return to normal.
3. Do nothing. It is perfectly acceptable to do nothing in preparation for a time change! If your family has a flexible schedule, you may choose to leave your child’s bedtime and wake time where they are. You would simply need to be okay with an earlier bedtime and earlier wake time. Just make sure that you adjust YOUR bedtime so you don’t lose out on sleep!
Most importantly, remember to keep your cool. There are likely to be hiccups and some tired, cranky days as everyone adjusts. Children sense our feelings about sleep, so if we’re tense because they’re not sleeping until later or waking earlier, they will be tense too. The more calm and relaxed you can remain, the easier the adjustment will be for everyone. As always, if you have any questions or you’d like some sleep support, please get In Touch!