Before having a baby, daylight savings time was probably a minor inconvenience (or celebration, when you "gained" an hour of sleep instead of losing it). But with a little one in the mix, it can feel like a major interruption to their—and therefore your—sleep schedule.
When it comes to daylight savings and baby sleep, there's a notable consensus: making small adjustments in the days leading up to the time change can make a big difference.
How Can Daylight Savings Time Affect Baby Sleep?
First, let's talk about why the time change can throw off your baby's sleep schedule. Babies' sleep cycles are shorter than ours—about 50-60 minutes, compared to 90 minutes for adults—and they move through multiple cycles during a single night.
When their bedtime routine is disrupted (as it can be when the clocks "spring forward" or "fall back"), it can throw off their internal sleep clock and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
It will affect some babies more than others. Maybe you'll be the lucky parent whose little one doesn't even notice the time change. But if you do have trouble adjusting, here are some tips for helping them (and you) get back on track.
7 Tips for Adjusting Your Baby’s Sleep to Daylight Savings Time
- In the days leading up to the time change, gradually adjust your baby's bedtime by five or ten minutes each night.
- Use natural light to help reset their internal clock. During the day, open the curtains and let them play in a sunlit room. At night, dim the lights in their bedroom and limit screen exposure as bedtime approaches.
- Stick to a consistent bedtime routine, including a bath, quiet playtime, and reading or singing before you lay them down in their crib.
- Don't be afraid to adjust nap times as well. If they seem tired earlier or later than usual, follow their cues and put them down for a nap at the appropriate time.
- Keep nighttime wakeups to a minimum. When they do wake up in the middle of the night, try to keep lights and noise low as you comfort them back to sleep.
- Make sure they're comfortable. Swaddles, sleepsacks, and sleepsuits can help your baby feel secure, and the right room temperature can also play a role in their sleep.
- Don't stress too much about it—for babies under six months old, their sleep patterns are still developing, and the time change will likely have less of an impact. And as they get older, they'll become better able to adapt to changes in their sleep routine.
These small changes can help ease the transition for your little one and hopefully prevent too many sleep-deprived nights for everyone involved.
Get Better Baby Sleep With Baby Merlin
Remember, every baby is different and may respond differently to the time change—but with a little patience and effort, you can help them adjust more smoothly. And if you're looking for more sleep tips and tricks, the Baby Merlin Sleep System can help promote better sleep for babies of all ages.
With the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit or Dreamsack, your baby stays comfortable and safe, promoting better baby sleep for you and your little one. Check out our website to learn more about the benefits of this unique swaddle transition tool. Happy (hopefully well-rested) parenting!