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Fall Back – Daylight Savings 

This time of year can be a little “spooky”. Besides dealing with the sugar rush from all the Halloween candy, you also need to be prepared to fall back! Sunday, November 5 at 2am is Daylight Saving and we fall back which means we gain an hour of sleep. Or at least in theory we do, as our little ones will most likely be waking up at the same time and the clock will be reading an hour earlier. This time change can be tough if you already have an early riser so check out the tips below on what you can do to help the process go smoother.

Option 1 is to gradually move wake-ups and bedtime later starting the week before. So if wakeup and bedtime are normally 7am/7pm, move it to 7:15am/pm the Sunday before and keep for two nights and then increase to 7:30am/pm for two nights and then 7:45am/pm for two nights and on Sat night put down at 8pm. Which will really be 7pm starting on Sun night. As you’re gradually waking and putting them down 15 minutes later, their body is hopefully adjusting to the new clock time and by Sat night when you put them down at 8pm they will sleep until the correct clock time you were always on even though it’s reading an hour earlier. 

Option 2 is not to doing anything ahead of time to prepare and just course correcting as best as you can the next day. Putting them down later Sat night, is not necessarily going to make them wake later (in fact, that can usually backfire and they will wake even earlier). If they normally wake at 7am, the clock is going to read 6am (fall back). You then will need to stretch them to their regular nap time. If it’s hard to get there, then try to split the difference and stretch at least 30 minutes if you can’t get to the full hour. So for example, if you’re trying to stretch to a 9am nap, you can try to get to 8:30am and hopefully by the next morning you can make it until 9am. Carry on the rest of the day on the new schedule and put to bed at normal time. 

If your child is a good sleeper, I normally recommend doing nothing and just adjusting to the new schedule the next day. Children will usually adjust in a couple days to a week. If you have a sensitive sleeper or a baby under 18 months the gradual adjustment outlined as Option 1 might be the way to go so that you have a smoother transition. It works because it’s gradual vs. just putting them to bed later for one night. Remember to adjust meal times and reset “ok to wake” clocks!  Blackout shades are non-negotiable with more light in the mornings!

Unpopular Opinion:  I say either go very gradually so that you’re very adjusted OR wait until after the time change to course correct because you never know, your child might be totally fine. Some experts recommend doing something in the middle and just put down later for the 2 nights before but I honestly don’t even think that is worth it as it’s not enough to really get your body on a new schedule and at that point you might not even need it so why not just wait.  

If you’re struggling with the change or need to talk it through more, shoot me an email at sleeponcue@gmail.com or fill out the “get started” form on my website.