Sleep Solutions: Daylight Time Changes

Managing Daylight Time Changes

Adapted from an article by Jennifer Humora
According to the National Sleep Foundation there are steps you can take this fall and spring to minimize the affects of daylight saving time in your family. Each spring our clocks move forward one hour to take advantage of longer daylight hours. This is reversed in the fall when our clocks are set back one hour.


To help your child through these transitions, gradually introduce him to his new bedtime by putting him to bed 5-15 minutes later for several nights before daylight saving time begins in the spring. In the fall, when it is ending, do the opposite so that you are putting your child to bed earlier. By the time you adjust your clock, your child may be used to going to bed at the new time.


  • Waking your child up at the same time each day instead of letting your child sleep in can also help.
  • Keep nap times regular and at the same adjusted time that he usually takes them.
  • Keeping your child’s room darkened with “black-out” shades or other window coverings will help keep them in bed when the sun rises earlier due to the fall time change.

Polly Moore, Ph.D., is a sleep researcher, frequent Parent Connection speaker and author of The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program: Follow Your Child’s Natural Rhythms for Better Nights and Naps. Dr. Moore says being aware that there will be a change and being prepared for it is what’s most important. “Be looking for signs of sleepiness and follow those signs instead of the clock. Put your child down to sleep when he looks sleepy instead of trying to force a change.”


According to Dr. Moore, “springing forward” is going to be more difficult on you and your family than “falling back” will be. “It’s easier to lengthen our day than shorten it,” she says, just as it’s easier to travel West than to travel East. In fact, the adjustment to daylight saving time can feel a lot like jet leg. And whatever approach you take to dealing with it, you and your child will adjust within a few days to a week.

For most parents, helping our children get the proper amount of sleep is one of our greatest struggles even without the added challenge of daylight saving time. Dr. Moore says that’s completely normal. “I have 20 years experience in sleep disorders and sleep disorders research but didn’t become an ‘expert’ in infant sleep until I had kids. And I was amazed how hard it was, given all my education and training,” she says.

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