The Dreaded Spring Daylight Savings Time
Daylight Savings Time (DST) is upon us. Regardless of any benefit or not to our world because of DST, it definitely can wreak havoc on your child’s sleep. You will be setting your clocks forward so if it is 7 pm, the clock should read 8 pm. There are two ways in which to resolve the issue as it relates to your child’s sleep.
If your child is an early riser, DST is great. Because if they were waking at 5 am, now they will be waking at 6 am! YAY. But if they need to wake up at 7 am to get ready for school, that clock will now say 8 am and they will be late! Below are a couple of options.
The first option is to do NOTHING. Especially for those early risers, whose wake-time was 5 am and bedtime at 7 pm, their wake time will be a more tolerable one now, from 6 am and bedtime at 8 pm, so you do not want to rock the boat here.
The second option is to spread the time change across 4 days, shifting your child’s sleep earlier by 15 minutes a day. If your current schedule is sleeping 7 pm-7 am, start with sleeping at 6:45 pm and wake up at 6:45 am. This means waking your child up at 645 in the morning, as you need them waking up at the new target time, not their old normal time. Continue shifting sleep 15 minutes a day for 4 days, at which point your child’s post-DST sleep schedule should be the same as their pre-DST sleep schedule (ex. 7 pm–7 am clock time). “If it’s too difficult to get your child to bed earlier, which is often the case in older kids, then just focus on advancing the wake-up time a bit instead.”
It is recommended to dim the lights in your child’s bedroom (and throughout the house) and turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime (I recommend this whether it’s daylight savings time or not, but it is especially important during that process). In the morning, get your child in the light as much as possible. Natural sunlight is best or turn on lights in the house so it is bright to start their ‘wake-up’ clock.