Daylight saving time is happening this year on Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 a.m. Daylight saving time means we lose an hour of sleep, but it may be more complex for your baby than just that. Your baby’s internal sleep clock helps put your baby to sleep at a certain hour and helps wake her up at pretty much the same time each morning. So it may be a little challenging to put your baby to sleep at the usual bedtime and have her wake an hour later in the morning. If you have an early riser, you may be getting excited about your baby waking an hour later, that may happen, but you will need to prepare to avoid sleep time struggles.
Also, if your baby needs to have a set bedtime and wake-up time for daycare, you will certainly need to prepare since she will most likely have a difficult time going to bed at her usual time. To help make daylight saving time an easy transition for your baby, follow these 3 simple tips.
1. Prepare for daylight saving time ahead of time.
Ideally, you want to shift your baby’s entire daytime schedule, not just bedtime. So for the 6 days before daylight savings, shift your baby’s schedule by 10 minutes each day until you reach a full hour. This will give your baby a chance to gradually adjust without a drastic change in their sleep schedule. A young baby, or a baby that doesn’t adapt well to change, will not tolerate an hour time change easily. An abrupt change may lead to many tears. Prepare your baby slowly and ahead of time. If you haven’t had enough time to prepare before the time change, no worries, you can even do this after the time change.
2. Get ready to deal with some bedtime troubles.
As I mentioned, your baby’s internal clock is set to get her ready for bed at a particular hour. With daylight saving time, you will be putting your baby down an hour earlier than she usually goes down. The new 7 p.m. bedtime will be 6 p.m. before the time change. Meaning your baby will most likely have a hard time falling asleep that early. It will take about a week for your baby’s internal clock to be reset to the new schedule. Help your baby settle for the night by dimming the lights and keeping noise low. Creating a calm and quiet environment before bed will be important.
3. Get some good blackout curtains.
Daylight saving time means the sun will still be out during the evening hours. If your baby is used to falling asleep in the dark, it may be difficult for them to fall asleep with even the slightest light coming in. Also, light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps your baby sleep. Making the room dark will help tremendously. This is particularly important if your baby has to be up early in the morning for daycare. Making sure the room is dark so that your baby can fall asleep and get a proper amount of night sleep is very important. Here is a good set if you don’t already have some. Blackout curtains are a perfect solution for daylight savings time, early bedtimes, and even nap troubles.
Daylight saving time is not as stressful in the spring as in the fall when you have to change your clocks back an hour. Nonetheless, some babies still have a bit of a hard time. Making sure you prepare ahead of time by gradually shifting your baby’s sleep schedule will be a big help. Blackout curtains will help the transition go more smoothly, as well. If you have an easy-going and adaptable baby, you may be in luck and not have to do much!
Good luck and happy sleep!