Daylight Saving Time - Sleep Adjustment


Let’s get ready to Fall Back on November 1st. Clocks will roll backward by one hour at 2:00 a.m., Sunday, November 1st. However, a young child’s circadian rhythm does not know this and may take some time to adjust to the change.

Young children’s sleep schedules are tied to their internal clocks. They do not adapt as quickly to time change as adults, and they don’t have the benefit of caffeine to help them get through the change! 

Here are a few tips to make this Fall Back a little easier:

  • Prepare to shift your child’s internal clock, starting seven days before the time change. If you’re able, consider shifting your child’s entire schedule to 10-15 minutes later every three days. This should include eating, naps, wake-up and bedtime. So if your child goes to bed at 7:00 p.m., shift to 7:15 p.m. or later.  

    Example of a Bedtime Change:

                                                        Sunday               7:00

                                                        Monday             7:10

                                                        Tuesday              7:20

                                                        Wednesday         7:35

                                                        Thursday            7:50

                                                        Friday                 8:05

                                                        Saturday             8:15

  • Be consistent with the routine on the adjusted schedule throughout the day.
  • Be sure to get some sunshine after waking to help reset your child’s internal clock.
  • Remember that every child is different and may adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule. It may take a week to adjust to the new time change.

Your Baby’s Sleep Strategy

Did you know newborns have different sleep patterns than older babies and don’t develop the ability to self soothe until four to six months of age? As a pediatric nurse practitioner, lactation consultant and sleep consultant, exhausted parents often ask me why their infant or child wakes up so often throughout the night. Parents often feel guilty or concerned that they have “spoiled” their newborns by nursing or rocking them to sleep. 

As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, my response is that you can’t over-indulge an infant. During the first four weeks of life, the range of sleep may be between 14-17 hours each day.  It’s normal for babies at this age to have short periods of wakefulness and unpredictable sleep schedules.

At around four months of age an infant’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is beginning to develop. While the baby’s internal clock is developing, exposure to outdoor light and fresh air during the day can help begin to regulate their body’s natural cycle.

Parents can help create a sleep-friendly environment for young infants by applying gentle sleep coping strategies such as:

·  A pre-sleep ritual of no more than 20 minutes: nursing or a giving bottle, having a warm bath, massage, and swaddling.

  Putting your baby down drowsy but awake.

  Room darkening shades and comforting white noise. 

  Establishing a consistent bedtime.

  Consider a sleepy feed or dream feed.

  Be aware of your infant’s sleep cues and use them to initiate the pre-sleep ritual.

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?

Children need more sleep then you think!  Find your child's age and see how much they should be sleeping... total hours include night-time and day naps.... Naps are a must for children to sleep well during the night.

Newborn   0-3 months: 14-17 hours 

Infant   4-11 months: 12-15 hours

Toddler   12-18 months: 11-14 hours

Toddler   1-2 years: 11-14 hours

The above is just an average, but a child should not be off by an hour either way. Babies under five months of age often do not yet have the ability to self-soothe, but respond well to consistent bedtime routines.

Is your child sleeping enough?  A Gentle Sleep Coach can help him or her sleep well and wake up happy!