Daylight Savings Baby Sleep: Handle The Change Like A Expert

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 12/19/23 •  Sleep / Sleep Tips

The thought of daylight savings and baby sleep might make you feel anxious about disruptions to your child’s naps and nighttime arising from the time change. And for good reason.

The bi-annual clock change of daylight savings can wreak havoc on your baby’s sleep schedule.

Thankfully, this article will give you expert guidance on gradually adjusting schedules ahead of time and sticking to sleep associations so your baby can adapt smoothly. Read on for tips to sail through daylight savings with your baby’s sleep routines intact!

Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Featured Image

Key Takeaways

  1. Prepare for Daylight Saving Time changes in advance by gradually adjusting your baby’s bedtime, wake time, nap schedule, and mealtimes in small increments leading up to the date. This will help ease the transition.
  2. Maintain consistent bedtime routines and sleep associations (like swaddling and white noise) to give your baby cues that it’s time to sleep. Familiarity and predictability provide comfort during schedule disruptions.
  3. Be patient through early wake-ups or temporary nap issues. Most babies adjust on their own within 1-2 weeks. Stick to routines and avoid letting baby sleep with you or offering too many night feeds as that can perpetuate sleep challenges.

The Basics of Daylight Savings Time

When DST starts, you’ll notice longer evenings, as sunlight extends further into the night. Then, when DST ends, mornings are brighter, but evenings get darker earlier. 

Adjusting to these changes can be challenging, especially for your baby and toddler’s sleep schedules.

Effects Of Daylight Savings On Baby’s Circadian Rhythm

The time change during Daylight Saving Time (DST) affects everyone, including young children.

Babies and toddlers have sensitive circadian rhythms, which regulate their daily routines. When DST comes into effect, their internal clocks are thrown off balance. 

This is because, melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating your baby’s sleep, is affected by light exposure and as the hours of daylight shift. 

The disruption to your baby’s melatonin levels can make it harder for them to fall asleep or wake up at their usual times, affecting their nap times, nightly sleep, and overall mood.

Preparing For Daylight Savings And Baby Sleep

As I always say… Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

And when the clocks change, a little bit of preparation can go a long way to helping your baby maintain their sleep routines (helping to keep you sane too):

How To Prepare For Daylight Savings Baby Sleep
  1. Adjust bedtime and wake-up time. Start adjusting your baby’s nap and bedtime by 10-15 minutes daily in the week leading up to daylight savings, gradually moving closer to the hour difference in time. Brighten or dim the lights in the evening and morning and use black-out blinds to restrict daylight when needed.
  2. Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Having a consistent and regular bedtime routine is beneficial all year round… but especially when a time change is approaching. A bedtime routine will give your baby the necessary signs they need to sleep, making time changes during daylight savings far easier to manage. Remember to include familiar comfort items to help your baby relax.
  3. Maximize natural light exposure. Sunlight helps regulate sleep, so use it to assist in adjusting to daylight savings. When the clocks ‘spring forward’, expose your child to light during the day and darken the sleep environment at night with thick curtains or black-out blinds.
  4. Gradually adjust meal times and nap times. Shift your baby’s meals and naps in line with their new sleep schedule to avoid disrupting their sleeping routine and internal clock.
  5. Keep your pre-sleep time calm. Minimize stimulation before putting baby down to sleep during daylight savings by having a cuddle, reading a book, singing a song, or having a bath. This will help your baby feel drowsy and ready for sleep.
  6. Remember patience is key. Everyone adjusts differently to time changes, so give your baby grace and understanding as they get used to the new schedule. And remember, while daylight savings might disrupt your baby’s sleep, even if you do nothing, most children will adapt to the new schedule in a week or two. 

Daylight Savings Schedule For The Next 5 Years

When adjusting your little one’s schedule to accommodate Daylight Savings, it helps to know when the clocks are going to change so that you can make necessary adjustments to ease their transition to the time change. 

In the United States, DST begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. 

Here’s a quick overview of DST start and end dates for the next few years for the USA:

YearUSA Spring Forward DST DateUSA Fall Back DST Date
2024March 10thNovember 3rd
2025March 9thNovember 2nd
2026March 8thNovember 1st
2027March 14thNovember 7th
2028March 12thNovember 6th
2029March 11thNovember 5th
2030March 10thNovember 4th

However, DST varies from country to country. 

For instance, in the UK, we change the clocks on the last weekend in March (spring forward) and the last weekend in October (fall back).

Here are the Daylight Savings Dates for the United Kingdom:

YearUK Spring Forward DST DateUK Fall Back DST Date
2024March 31stOctober 27th
2025March 30thOctober 26th
2026March 29thOctober 25th
2027March 28thOctober 31st
2028March 26thOctober 29th
2029March 25thOctober 28th
2030March 31stOctober 27th

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

Adjusting Baby Sleep To ‘Spring Forward’ Daylight Savings

The easiest way to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule for the Spring clock change is to shift to an earlier bedtime.

Start by moving your little one’s bedtime 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach the desired hour. 

In addition: 

Spring Forward Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Schedule

Here is a sample Spring Forward Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Schedule (clocks go forward by 1 hour).

The night before Daylight Savings (Saturday night):

On the day of the Clock Change (Sunday):

Over the next few nights:

Sticking to the slightly earlier schedule for about a week should help baby adjust to the time change from Daylight Savings Time. Be patient, as it may take a few days for their internal clock to fully sync up.

Spring Forward Baby Sleep Schedule

Adjusting Baby Sleep To ‘Fall Back’ Daylight Savings

The most effective technique to help your little one adjust to ‘Fall Back’ daylight savings is to gradually shift their bedtime a little later in the week before the clocks change. 

This can be done using small increments, such as 10-15 minutes until you reach the desired time.

During this transition, also keep in mind the following points: 

With all this said and done another approach is to let your baby adjust naturally to the time changes.

In my experience, many babies adjust quite easily within a few days. 

However, if you are concerned about the disruption Daylight Savings Time may cause to your little one sleep routine taking the steps laid out will give you more control over the situation.

Fall Back Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Schedule

The clocks going back can often throw a baby off more than the clocks going forward. To help you get through this phase, here is a sample Fall Back Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Schedule (clocks go back by an hour):

The week before Daylight Savings Time:

The night before Daylight Savings (Saturday night)

On the day of the Clock Change (Sunday):

The week following the Clock Change:

Fall Back Baby Sleep Schedule

Dealing with nap issues during daylight savings can be challenging as you want to avoid overtiredness at all costs. Here are my top strategies for managing naps when the clocks change:

No matter which approach you decide, you know your baby best so use your knowledge of their temperament and sleep patterns to guide you through the clock change.

Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Sleep During Daylight Savings

Looking for more information about how to handle the daylight savings transition with your baby? Here are the most frequently asked questions, answered just for you.

Q: How can I manage early morning wake-ups with my baby?

A: To manage early morning wake-ups, gradually adjust your baby’s bedtime by 10 minutes each day in the week before the time change. A consistent sleep schedule and exposing them to natural light during the day can also help. Also, try leaving your baby in their crib to see if they resettle by themselves.

Q: How long does it take for babies to adjust to daylight saving?

A: Adjustment time can vary, but it typically takes a week for most babies to adapt to the daylight saving time change.

Q: Can I do nothing and just let my baby adjust to DST their way?

A: Yes, you can just let your little one adjust at their own pace to the new time change. However, be prepared for potential early morning waking or some bedtime resistance. If your baby is struggling to get back on track after two weeks, you might want to consider sleep training or visiting a certified pediatric sleep consultant for more advice.

Q: Baby waking early during daylight savings, what can you do?

A: If your baby is waking early when the clocks change, adjust their bedtime back by 10 minutes a night. Try installing black-out blinds to limit any early morning sunshine and don’t rush in immediately, see if they’ll resettle themselves (the beginning of learning to self-soothe)

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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