It’s the time of the year when the big kids have returned to school, and daylight has been slipping away a few minutes each day. The weather feels like summer one day and autumn the next. My summer flowers were fading, so I planted mums in their place. I also added a few pumpkins to the landscape to add to the fall theme. Daylight Savings Time will soon end, and we’ll return our clocks to standard time. Time changes, and your baby’s sleep schedule can be tricky unless you plan for it beforehand. I’m going to share tips on adjusting the baby’s sleep schedule.
This year, daylight savings ends on Sunday, November 5th, and we turn our clocks back one hour at 2:00 a.m. Many people dread this time of year because it gets dark so early. It’s harder to get out to enjoy the sunshine with work and school schedules. Many parents of young children know the time change will affect their baby’s sleep schedule.
Many parents aren’t sure of the best way to handle the time change regarding their baby’s sleep. If you follow the schedule below, you’ll find the recommended way to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule in easy-to-understand steps. I recommend starting on Monday, October 30th. This will give you six nights of preparation so your little one has time to adjust to the time change.
On Monday, October 30th, you will begin by adjusting the baby’s sleep schedule by keeping your child up 10 minutes later than their regular bedtime.
Then, you will add ten minutes to each night for the next five nights (Tuesday through Saturday). This lands you on Saturday, November 4th. Your little one will go to bed one hour later than their regular bedtime this night.
Depending on the age and sensitivity of your baby, the bedtime routine may get unpleasant if they are overtired. Even though their bedtime is only being shifted 10 minutes each night, it’s enough to disrupt their routine. I have a sample bedtime schedule in the next section you can look at for reference.
The bedtime sample below shows the baby’s regular bedtime at 8:00 p.m. Adjust the time according to your little one’s bedtime.
Monday, October 30th: Bedtime 8:10pm
Tuesday, October 31st: Bedtime 8:20pm
Wednesday, November 1st: Bedtime 8:30pm
Thursday, November 2nd: Bedtime 8:40pm
Friday, November 3rd: Bedtime 8:50pm
Saturday, November 4th: Bedtime 9:00pm
On Sunday night (November 5th), the clocks will have already been set back an hour, and you’ll put your little one to bed at 8:00 p.m.
If your schedule allows, let them sleep 10 minutes longer each morning to stay in line with the bedtime from the night before. I realize this may not be possible for everyone who needs to get out the door at a particular time.
As for naps, you’ll do the same thing if possible. Keep them up 10 minutes later, and then add 10 minutes each day just as you are doing at bedtime.
It’s important to remember that it will take some time for your baby’s internal clock to reset. The time change, and your baby’s sleep schedule is being disrupted. Ten minutes each day doesn’t sound like a lot to you and me, but to a baby, this can put them out of sorts. I can relate. I feel “off” for about a week when we have daylight savings or standard time change. I know other adults feel the same way, too.
The circadian rhythm that your baby developed is now going to the dogs, and it could take a week or so to reset your baby’s internal clock. If you find your baby getting sleepy early, try to keep lights on at the normal level and noise in the house at regular volume until 30 minutes before bedtime.
Life gets busy, and we can’t always allow six nights of shifting a baby’s sleep schedule to prepare for daylight standard time. If you have four nights that you can allow for it, then change the bedtime by 15 minutes for four nights. Follow my above bedtime sleep schedule but substitute 15 minutes instead of 10. Another option is to make incremental time adjustments once the clocks have been turned back. If you do this, remember that your baby will likely get up an hour earlier. You may not be happy to see your sweet baby’s face an hour earlier. If they do get up earlier, it will throw off their nap schedules and their bedtime.
Whichever way you decide you’d like to handle the time change and your baby’s sleep is up to you. Any options I’ve discussed will throw off your baby’s internal clock at some point in the process, and you’ll get some pushback from your little one. If you decide to plan for the fallback hour, hopefully, you’ll have less resistance and tears than you would if you hadn’t given it any thought. Also, the fact that you’re planning for the time change and adjusting the baby’s sleep schedule makes me think you’re taking a realistic approach to how much this may affect them.
If you’re struggling with your little one’s sleep issues, visit my website. You can learn a little about me and sleep training to bring peace back to your bedtime routine. You can set up a free discovery call to see if sleep training suits you. I love helping parents problem-solve!
October 12, 2023
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