Daylight Saving: Fall Back

Every year, I get a TON of questions on this topic. If I had my way, there would not be a daylight saving time. It really does have an effect on all of us, and can increase our sleep debt. Children tend to be much more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. That’s why our youngest ones can be the most negatively impacted.

To make this transition as easy and successful as possible, check out my Fall Back Guide, Day-By-Day Steps and Additional Tips. Just a few days of adjustments and you will have your small sleeper back to being a pro. Remember, these effects are short-lived and everything should be back to normal within a week or two. However… Contact me with any concerns you may have before or during the process. Or you can purchase my official Daylight Savings Guide.

Fall Back Guide

Thankfully, most people aren’t as worried about this season time change and gaining an extra hour! For Fall Back, my recommendation to all parents is to leave the clocks alone the night before, so it’s not a psychologically upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me! Here’s my handy visual guide to take steps from there…

Day-By-Day Steps

Infant • More Than One Nap

Example Schedule … If your child normally wakes at 7:00 AM and naps at 10:00 AM.

Day 1  •  Leave in bed until new 6:15 AM if possible. Shift entire schedule 15 minutes later. Equals… Nap at 9:15 AM.

Day 3  •  Two days later, shift schedule another 15 minutes later. Leave in bed until 6:30 AM. Equals… Nap at 9:30 AM.

Days 5 & 7  •  Repeat the 15 minute shift every 2 days. At the end of the week, you’re back to… Wake at 7:00 AM. Nap at 10:00 AM.

Toddler & Older • One Nap or No Nap

Example Schedule … If your child normally wakes at 7:00 AM, naps at 12:30 PM, and is asleep by 8:00 PM.

Day 1  •  Set wake for new 6:30 AM. Shift entire schedule 30 minutes later. Equals… Nap at 12:00 PM. Bed at 7:30 PM.

Day 4  •  Set wake for new 7:00 AM. Shift entire schedule remaining 30 minutes. You’re back to… Nap at 12:30 PM. Bed at 8:00 PM.

Additional Tips…


Take Baby Steps
Don’t just set the clock back an hour and expect your child to get in sync right away. Shifting your child’s naps and bedtime gradually and incrementally as described will help ease your child through the time change. For some families shifting a full hour is required due to family schedule. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to the time change.

Control The Lights

Melatonin is a chemical released by our brain to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. Melatonin also plays a critical role in regulating our body’s circadian rhythm, our natural body clock. Melatonin increases in the evenings, as it becomes darker. Daylight saving time throws that natural body clock out of sync for a bit and can be particularly difficult for children. In the evenings, I recommend dimming the lights and turning off all screens, including TV, iPads and other electronic devices, at least 1 hour before bedtime. In addition, during the day get your child in the light as much as possible, natural light is best.

Invest In Black Out Curtains

In the spring, your child may wake up early with the sun rising and may struggle to fall asleep while it is still light outside; so darkening the room can be very helpful. Even though there are extra hours of daylight, children still need the same amount of sleep. It is also worth it to have a discussion with your children as they get older – that sleep is more about our body’s need, versus the position of the sun.

Stick With A Routine

A bedtime routine is a cueing system for the brain and body that sleep is near. I stress the importance of a bedtime routine every night. But if you don’t have one already implemented, now would be a good time. When daylight saving time begins, it is especially important to stick with a bedtime routine, as your child is now dealing with a change in schedule that might throw him off.

Get Enough Sleep Now

In the days before you change your clocks, make sure your child is getting the proper amount of sleep. Sleep begets sleep. So going into daylight saving time more well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky or overtired, which makes falling asleep even harder and affects the overall quality of sleep.

Be Sympathetic

In the days following daylight saving time, your child may throw an extra tantrum or may seem frustrated or difficult for no particular reason. The time change and sleep disturbances can cause short-term changes in your child’s mood, but understanding and support will him adjust a little better. With all the focus on your child’s sleep, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Many adults feel sluggish and cranky too. Make sure you’re getting the rest you need, so you’re not overly tired and irritable with your child.

Understanding Wake Windows: The Key to Navigating Infant Sleep

For new parents, navigating the world of infant sleep can feel like a never-ending puzzle. One crucial piece to this puzzle is understanding wake windows. Wake windows are the optimal windows of time a baby can comfortably stay awake before needing to rest again. By...

Seven Vacation Sleep Tips Your Family Needs This Summer

It’s summertime, and for most families, that means a chance to go on vacation! But when you have a child who is struggling to sleep at home, it can be nerve-wracking to attempt a family vacation. We all know that traveling wears us out already, so traveling without a...

Sleep Props: What Are They and Why Do They Prevent Healthy Sleep?

Many families who begin Sleep Training with me struggle with a common problem: Their munchkin has become accustomed to using a sleep prop in order to fall asleep. Night after night, they’re up and down with their little one. No one in the family is able to sleep for a...

A Sleep Consultant’s Top Tips for Back-to-School

August is here already! The summer has flown by and it’s that time of year again…back to school. Some of your little ones may have already returned to school and others are gearing up to get back into the swing of things. For most parents, this time of year sends a...

Survive Holiday Travel with These 7 Sleep Tips

The holidays are a hectic time of year. With so many things to do and people to see, it’s no wonder so many families struggle to get a good night’s sleep with all the excitement. And if that wasn’t enough, many people travel out of town to see family during this...

Transform Your Family’s Sleep Routine: The Power of Winding Down

I don’t know about you, but I don’t just walk straight into my bedroom at night and get in bed without any preparation. I talk a lot about the importance of a good bedtime routine to help you and your little ones get ready for bed. Bedtime routines can help set the...

Understanding Newborn Sleep: What to Expect in the First Few Months

Being a new parent can be overwhelming! There is so much information to take in. So today, I want to help break down your little one’s sleep patterns, so you can have a better understanding of what to expect when it comes to newborn sleep. Newborn babies have...

Trick or Treat Without Losing Sleep | A Sleep Consultant’s Guide to Halloween

Is your family going trick or treating this year? I know that years ago before my family was sleeping well, I dreaded late nights like Halloween night. I knew that winding down for bedtime would be nearly impossible after hours of running around the neighborhood in...

Parents Need Date Nights Too!

When was the last time you and your husband had a night to yourselves? Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a special anniversary, a birthday celebration, or just a random Tuesday night – date nights are important! Every couple deserves (and needs!) time...

Preventing Overtiredness

Like adults, children have a natural rhythm for sleep. Our bodies secrete hormones to keep us up during the day, and different ones to help us rest at night. Timing and transitions for all this are very important.

Need Some Help?

If you are struggling with your child’s sleep, book a complimentary 15-minute phone evaluation to discuss your sleep obstacles and how my program can help your family.