The words “time change” have a way of making parents cringe. If things have been going well for you and your child sleep-wise, the last thing you need is a schedule change. If your days and nights have been choppy and unpredictable, you’re probably feeling cautiously optimistic that a time change will work in your favor.
Here’s some good news: while an hour of time change can certainly take a toll on our bodies, it typically takes just a few days (generally no more than 3-4) to fully adjust. And, if you’re the planning type, you CAN begin to prepare.
First, check out this more in-depth post on navigating Daylight Savings Time in the Fall.
Another trick is to use the sun’s natural light to your advantage. If you’ve been following my sleep tips, your child is going to sleep (and waking) in a very dark room designed to increase melatonin levels, which signal the brain that it’s time to slow down and sleep. In the morning, we want to expose our bodies to brighter, natural blue light to help with the production of serotonin and cortisol. So rise and let the light shine in (provided your child is waking at a reasonable hour)!
If after a few days you find that your child is really struggling with the time change, consider reaching out to an expert to discuss what might be causing the issue. Kids are in a constant state of change, so it’s possible that other factors are contributing to your child’s sleep issues. My heart always aches for the jet-lagged parents of the teething 12-month old who just recovered from a week of congestion only to then get a round of vaccinations, somehow figure out how to walk, and then be faced with the time change. But even that is fixable!