Don’t Lose Sleeping Turning the Clocks Back!

#sleepsoundly #daylightsavings

By Angela Porcelli, Publisher October 14, 2019

Fall is here — the leaves are changing color, we have picked our apples and Halloween costumes! Fall also means it is time to turn the clocks back, bleh! The end of Daylight Saving Time used to be a welcomed fall date, and one that meant an extra hour of blissful, uninterrupted sleep. Then you had your baby! That extra hour can now mean a very long day, a cranky baby, and days of disrupted naps and bedtimes! That slight change to the schedule, just one hour, can affect your baby’s sleep in turn affecting your sleep. Here are a few simple tools to arm you for that extra hour from certified child sleep consultant, Johanna Snyder

She says there are two great ways to handle the change. Choose the one the best suits your child’s temperament and your parenting style. 

1. DO NOTHING: Leave your routine and schedule exactly the same and follow the clock. 

  • Follow the same routine each day.
  • Make sure meals, naps and bedtime occur at the same as before the change based on the clock!
  • Get lots of outside play time in the afternoon because exposure to natural light is important. 
  • Keep pre-nap and pre-bedtime routines calm and quiet.
  • Use room darkening shades and white noise machines to keep the environment conducive to sleep.
  • Wake your child by 7:00 am each morning. This consistency will help his little bodies adjust to the change and be ready for his normal nap times. 
  • If your baby does wake early, try to allow him some space to fall back to sleep or rest in his crib or bed until at least 6:00 am. This will help him adjust to the new time.
  • This plan works well for children with solid sleep habits, toddlers and older children. There may be a few days of early rising or shorter naps, but be consistent and patient and your child will begin to adjust. Usually, our body’s internal clock adjusts in just a few days.

2. ADJUST GRADUALLY:  This plan should be started 3-6 days before you change your clocks.

  • Begin to adjust the clock a few days ahead of the clock change (choose 3 or 6 days).
  • For 3 days: Start your bedtime routine and put your baby to sleep 20 minutes later each night. A 7:00 pm bedtime becomes 7:20 pm on Night 1.
  • Increase by 20 minutes for the next two nights.
  • For 6 days: Start your bedtime routine and put your baby to sleep 10 minutes later each night. A 7:00 pm bed becomes 7:10 pm on Night 1.
  • Increase by 10 minutes for 5 more nights.
  • For naps: follow the schedule above, pushing the start time by 10-20 minutes each day.
  • Get lots of outside play time in the afternoon (exposure to natural light is important).
  • Keep pre-nap and pre-bedtime routines calm and calm.
  • Use room darkening shades and white noise machines to keep the environment conducive to sleep.

By the time we change the clocks, you should be right on time!

No matter what you choose to do, remember that any transition takes time, patience and consistency. It might take a few days or even a week to be back to your regular routine. 

Tips for everyone:

  • Gets lots of natural light exposure and outdoor play time in the afternoon. Natural light signals to our brain that it is time to be awake. This will help give your child energy during the daytime hours. 

  • Wind down prior to bedtime and make sure you choose quiet activities such as puzzles or board games in the hour leading up to bedtime. 

  • Maintain consistency for bedtime and naptime routines. This is a must, as the routine will signal to your child that it is time for bed. Make sure to include soothing actives like a bath, books and songs.

  • Create dark rooms for sleep. Room darkening shades are a great way to keep out the early morning bright sunshine that happens much earlier with the time change. While we all welcome the sunny fall days, and welcome the bright light during our wake time, we want to keep the bright light out of the bedroom until wake-up time. If you do not already had room darkening shades, you can find inexpensive paper shades online. They are easy to hang and do a great job of keeping the room dark. 

  • Toddler Clocks are great tools for helping your child stay in bed until an appropriate wake time. They might not sleep until the clock light changes, but at least they can rest in their beds (and so can everyone else in the house!).

  • Make sure to stay patient and consistent! 

Written in part by Macaroni Kid follower and Certified Child Sleep Consultant, Johanna Snyder of Sleep Soundly Consulting. Reach her at or (917) 558-3488 for a consultation.