Baby’s Sleep and Daylight-Saving Time

When Daylight Saving Time rolls around, we have to reset our clocks, of course, but we also have to adjust our babies’ sleep schedules (and our own routines) for this time change—and that’s not always easy. In the fall, when we “fall back,” we gain an hour of sleep but in the spring, when we “spring forward,” we lose an hour of sleep. It often takes days to get used to the time change as adults; children and babies may struggle even more with the transition. But all is not lost—we’ve got some great tips on how to deal with both the spring and fall time changes, and methods for adjusting your baby’s sleep schedule ahead of Daylight Saving Time.

How to Prepare Your Baby for Daylight-Saving Time: 8 Tips for the Adjustment

Here are some things you can do ahead of time to make the Daylight-Saving Time change easier and boost the quality of your baby’s sleep:

  1. Expose your baby to natural light. This is especially beneficial during the morning and late afternoon hours, and in the morning after the DST time change. This early sun exposure will help reset your baby’s internal clock and improve their sleep. However, to prevent your baby from getting sunburned, it’s best to avoid direct sun between 10 am and 4 pm when ultraviolet rays are at their peak.

  2. Spend time outside. If the weather permits, take your baby or toddler for a walk or head to the playground or backyard. Getting out and about during the day can make for a more restful night.

  3. Prioritize naps. Good naps lead to good nighttime sleep. Your baby’s naps should be long enough so that they’re restorative but short enough so that nighttime sleep isn’t disrupted. Having a good nap schedule in place for your baby or toddler is also key for good nighttime sleep.

  4. Be mindful of your baby’s internal clock (circadian rhythm). Even as you go ahead with shifting your little one’s sleep schedule, you’ll want to stay flexible enough to identify when they need to sleep, even if it isn’t exactly when they are “supposed” to go to bed. This is an important part of transitioning your baby’s sleep schedule for Daylight Saving Time. The Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ features a smart schedule that will actually update every time you track your baby's sleeps - so as you adjust sleeps by 15mins each day, the schedule will update and help you along the way! Plus, it’s packed with videos and articles on everything baby sleep, emotional support to build your Parenting Power, and step-by-step sleep support to help you easily solve your baby's sleep challenges!

  5. Maintain a consistent bedtime routine. This can include brushing teeth, a bath, reading a book, cuddling, or listening to soft music just before going to sleep.

  6. Relax in the evening. This means steering your baby or toddler away from any stimulating activity or lively play as bedtime approaches, and instead choosing a calming activity like listening to music or reading a story before putting them to sleep. This can become a part of your child’s bedtime routine as mentioned above.

  7. Seek help from your baby’s healthcare provider. If you’re stuck and can’t make a successful transition to or from Daylight-Saving Time, it’s OK to seek help. If your baby is struggling with the time change or with any sleep related issue, such sleep regression, it may be worth consulting their healthcare provider or reaching out to another health professional in your area.

“Spring Forward” Daylight-Saving Time—How to Adjust Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule

“Springing forward” on the second Sunday in March involves setting your clocks ahead by an hour, which also means losing an hour of sleep. For babies and children this can be especially rough. If your little one usually goes to bed at 7 p.m., for instance, that’s actually 6 p.m. according to their internal clock, and they likely won’t feel tired then. Here are two options for helping your baby or toddler adapt to the time change:

  1. Do nothing. Keep putting your baby to bed at their usual bedtime—for example, when the clock says 7 p.m.—and wake them at their normal wakeup time. Don’t let them sleep in to compensate for lack of sleep. After a few days of being extra tired and cranky, your little one will likely fall asleep more easily.

  2. Introduce an earlier bedtime gradually. Move up your baby’s bedtime by 15-minute increments in the days before DST. For a baby whose normal bedtime is 7 p.m., follow this plan to spring forward:

    1. Four days before DST, move up your baby’s bedtime to 6:45 p.m. Your baby’s wakeup time should also be 15 minutes earlier.

    2. Three days before DST, move up your baby’s bedtime to 6:30 p.m.

    3. Two days before DST, move up your baby’s bedtime to 6:15 p.m.

    4. One day before DST, move up your baby’s bedtime to 6 p.m.

Don’t miss these must-watch sleep tips from a pediatric sleep consultant.

“Fall Back” Daylight Saving Time—How to Adjust Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule

After Daylight-Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November, and you “fall back,” your baby may be waking up an hour early—and sometimes that’s too early. One way to help the time change go more smoothly is to put your baby to bed a little later each night as DST approaches. If 7 p.m. is your baby’s usual bedtime, you can fall back by taking the following steps:

  • Four days before DST, put your baby to bed at 7:15 p.m.

  • Three days before DST, move bedtime to 7:30 p.m.

  • Two days before DST, move bedtime to 7:45 p.m.

  • One day before DST, put your baby down at 8 p.m.

Daylight Saving Time Schedule (2022 to 2027)

If you’re wondering when does the time change for Daylight Saving Time, or when do we “spring forward” or “fall back,” check out the table below. We’ve listed the relevant dates for the next five years to help you plan.

The Bottom Line

Daylight Saving Time doesn’t have to cause major problems in your baby’s sleep schedule if you plan in advance and work in bedtime or wakeup time changes in the days leading up to the weekend. Adjusting bedtime or morning wakeup times could also be something you and your entire family try in order to soften the blow of the DST time change. Try the gradual method of moving up your baby’s bedtime for the “spring forward” time change or opting for a later bedtime for the “fall back” time change. All the while, maintaining a consistent routine will be very important in keeping your baby on track. This means keeping them active during the day, winding down in the evening, and capping the day off with a tried-and-true bedtime ritual like reading a book before putting them to sleep. Then when DST rolls around, you can celebrate with 30 minutes of “me-time”—you deserve it! You successfully managed your baby’s Daylight Saving Time transition, which is no small feat. For even more information on helping your baby sleep soundly, read up on some common misconceptions about baby sleep.

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