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Daylight Saving Time: When do we fall back?

By Cradlewise Staff

It’s officially that time of year—we’re about to change our clocks because of Daylight Saving Time. While for some, it might be a minor one-hour switch, for parents of young children, DST takes on a whole new meaning. 

This seemingly small shift can throw off your little one’s entire schedule—their wake-up time, their naps, meals and bedtime. Fortunately, there are some simple but effective ways to help make this transition easier for your little one (and yourself, too).

We consulted Rachel Mitchell, Certified Sleep Specialist and CEO of My Sweet Sleeper, on how Daylight Saving Time affects your baby’s sleep and how you can adjust their schedule.

When do we fall back?

This year we fall back on November 6, 2022.

Earlier this year, two days before the beginning of DST, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. 

The next stop will be the House of Representatives, from where it would go to President Biden’s desk. If President Biden passes it, the Sunshine Protection Act will officially end the practice of switching clocks back and forth twice a year. The bill would effectively end DST after 2023.

Fall back: How to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule

baby playing with a clock

When DST ends on November 6, most of you will turn your clocks back one hour on Saturday night, November 5, before going to bed (While you’re at it, don’t forget the analog clocks like the microwave, wall clocks, etc.) 

This ‘fall back’ in time also means your little one might be waking up earlier.

  • If your child is under one

Certified Sleep Specialist Rachel Mitchell says, “For babies under age one, you don’t have to do a lot of shifting with their schedule since you should be primarily focusing on awake windows.”

“Awake windows are the periods of time that your baby is awake in between naps and because sleep varies so much in the first year we recommend following awake windows rather than a by-the-clock schedule. Keep in mind that awake windows will vary for each child.”

She suggests that instead of moving up your child’s bedtime, you can just adjust their awake windows gradually and not worry too much about the time on the clock. “You can also try to wake your baby around the same time each morning (within 30 minutes) to try and promote some consistency in their day (if over 3 months),” she says.

  • If your child is one or older

For this age, it’s better to gradually ease your baby into the new routine. You can do this by putting your kiddo to bed a little later each night by 10 to 15 minutes.

Ideally, you want to start this transition four days leading up to Daylight Saving Time. (But this is just a general guideline—the number of days a baby needs to adjust also depends on the baby’s temperament.)

Here’s a sample sleep schedule for a baby who goes to sleep at 8 p.m each day:

Four days before November 6, 2022Push your baby’s bedtime to this time
November 28.15 pm
November 38.30 pm
November 48.45 pm
November 59.00 pm

The night before DST ends, your baby’s new bedtime will be 9 p.m., which will then become 8 p.m. on the evening of November 6, when you reverse your clock by an hour. Your baby will hopefully be ready to fall asleep around their original bedtime. Mission accomplished 🙌

How Daylight Saving Time affects your baby’s sleep

Any change that disturbs your baby’s internal clock or circadian rhythm can lead to sleep-related problems, which then affects their appetite and mood. 

However, it’s important to note that Daylight Saving Time affects babies differently in the spring than in the fall.

Mitchell says, “The major difference between the time change in the spring and Fall is the shift in sunlight and how it affects your child’s circadian rhythm and internal sleep cycles.”

When we spring forward, we have more sunlight later in the evening, which most of us find exciting, but it can affect the onset of melatonin and circadian rhythm. Because of this, some babies struggle to wind down and fall asleep at night.

—Rachel Mitchell, Certified Sleep Specialist and CEO of My Sweet Sleeper

She explains that in the spring we have daylight longer, which means that your child’s melatonin production may onset later, whereas in the winter the opposite happens—early sunset, which leads to production of melatonin earlier. Because of this, your child may seem tired earlier in the evening. “This is one of the reasons that I recommend having a slightly later bedtime in the spring and summer months and an earlier bedtime in the fall and winter months.”

According to Mitchell, “The fall time change can also cause early risers to rise even earlier (insert collective sigh).”

So if your baby is already waking early, Mitchell suggests that you can take some steps to try and push that early wake-up such as ensuring daytime sleep is within an appropriate range, and that your child is going to bed at an ideal time for their age.

FAQ

Q: When does the time fall back?

A: Time falls back on the first Sunday in November. This year, time will fall back on November 6.’

Q: How long does it take for babies to adjust to Daylight Saving Time?

A: Usually, babies adjust to DST within a week or two.

When does the time fall back?

Time falls back on the first Sunday in November. This year, time will fall back on November 6.’

How long does it take for babies to adjust to Daylight Saving Time?

Usually, babies adjust to DST within a week or two.

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