Tips to Help Your Baby Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

Tips to Help Your Baby Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

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Love it or hate it, the clocks “spring forward” this Sunday, March 10 and millions of Americans will lose an hour of sleep as daylight saving time begins again. While the extra hours of sunlight in the evenings are a welcome change after a dark and dreary winter, that one hour of lost sleep can wreak havoc on your baby’s sleep (and yours too!). Resetting the clock means adjusting your little one’s sleep schedule to make up for the time change, and it can take a week or even longer for the family to get used to the transition. When your entire day revolves around trying to get your baby to sleep well, the back-and-forth from standard time to daylight saving time are some of the most dreaded events in the year. But, fret not! Here are some steps you can take to minimize the upheaval and make the transition into daylight saving time as smooth as possible. 

Stick to your daily schedule

Everyone in the family might feel a little bit “off” at first, but stick to your daily schedule as much as you can. It might be tempting to let your little one sleep in to pay off “sleep debt” from the night before if they had a late night, but try and get everyone in the house awake at the usual time. This will help your baby feel tired when the clock says it’s bedtime. Following your usual schedule of wake, eat, play, nap, and so on, will help your little one adjust faster (although they may be crankier than usual).

Follow a bedtime routine

If you don’t already have a solid bedtime routine, it’s time to establish one. It only takes a few nights of following a bedtime routine to see improvements in your little one’s sleep, so even if you start today, it can help with the transition into daylight saving time. If you give your baby a bath every day, make it part of your daily evening routine, which may look something like this: bath, diaper, lotion, pajamas, feeding, sleep bag, lights out, rocking, bed. Even if you don’t do a daily bath, the other steps before bedtime will act as sleepy cues for your baby. Staying consistent will help ease the transition when the clocks go forward.

Make the room dark

With the sun still out in the evenings, bedtime can suddenly become a confusing time for your baby. Invest in some good blackout curtains for their nursery to keep the room as dark as possible when you lay your baby down for sleep. You may not be able to explain what daylight saving time is or why it’s still light outside when it’s time to sleep, but you can fool their internal body clock with total darkness in their sleep environment to synchronize their sleep-wake cycle. Darkness = melatonin = sleepy time. 

Soak in the morning sun

Daylight saving time not only makes bedtime more challenging, but it also makes waking up in the mornings harder. The transition into DST means more evening light and darker mornings, which delays your sleep-wake cycle and makes you feel more groggy when you wake up. If you find that your little one is extra sleepy in the AM after the time change, give them plenty of exposure to natural sunlight first thing in the morning. This exposure to light early in the day not only signals to your baby that it’s time to wake up, but it helps reset their internal clock and helps their body regulate melatonin production.

Give yourself grace

Your baby may get through this time change without any issues at all, or they may be extra fussy for a few weeks. Even if it’s the latter, it won’t last forever. If you’re feeling stressed about daylight saving time beginning, just know that sleep disruption is common for both babies and adults, and you’re not alone! 

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