What are daylight savings?

Daylight saving time is the practice of advancing clocks during warmer months so that darkness falls later each day according to the clock and changing it back in the fall.

It was first implemented by the German Empire and Austria-Hungary during the WWI, starting with April 30, 1916, mainly to save energy. Nowadays only a minority of the world’s population uses this practice while Asia and Africa generally do not observe it.

Daytime savings follow the rule: Spring Forward and Fall Back, which means we set the clock 1 hour forward at the end of March and set it back 1 hour at the end of October.

Therefore this weekend, on the 25th of October 2020, in the Northern hemisphere, we need to move the clock backwards. In other words, 7pm on Sunday becomes actually the former 8pm.

In practice, our technology today makes this shift automatically, more or less and we just need to find a way to adjust our internal clock to this change.

Changing time could be quite a stressful period for many people, especially for children who are more in sync with nature and their natural biorhythm.

Our circadian rhythm which consists of physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle, is influenced by external factors (light and darkness, food, social interaction) which is why when day light savings hit, we need time to adjust.

Even if DST could disrupt travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment and sleep patterns, most adults manage to adjust to this 1 hour change sooner or later with no significant turmoil.

But in case of babies following a routine, even a tiny 1one hour change can be challenging and significantly impact their sleep.

Therefore, many sleep specialist recommend to start preparing a bit the field one week before the change by moving bedtime 15 minutes later every 2 days (or every day in case of hurry).

Daylight Savings Time Plan

Day Wake up Nap & food Bedtime
Monday – Tuesday 7:15am 15 minutes later 7:15pm
Wednesday – Thursday 7:30am 30 minutes later 7:30pm
Friday – Saturday 7:45am 45 minutes later 7:45pm
Sunday 7am (new time) 1 h later 7pm (new time)

Keeping all the other elements of your baby or toddler sleep routine similar, as much as possible, could also help go through this transition phase:

  • Keep your bedtime ritual
  • Make the room as dark as possible
  • Keep using the white noise if kids are used to it
  • Expose them to natural light in the morning so they know it’s signal for starting the day
  • Let them run and use their energy outside, if possible
  • Keep them in bed until the DWT (desired wake-up time) if they wake up too early in the morning
  • Avoid screen exposure at least 1 h before starting the bedtime ritual
  • Keep the sleeping room cool at night (approx. 20 °C)
  • Use the same settling technique as before, if needed
  • Be consistent, calm and loving, while setting clear boundaries, especially for toddlers who might try to push the limits a bit 😉

Al things considered, you need to have some more patience and trust your kid that in a couple of days he or she will come back to the usual routine and healthy sleep habits.

If you need more support with setting healthy sleep habits and routine for your kids, I am happy to connect.

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