5 Tips for Daylight Savings Spring Forward & Your Baby’s Sleep

I’m just going to say it. Whoever came up with the idea of Daylight Savings Time most certainly did NOT have babies and certainly wasn’t worried about their sleep schedule. (Update: the internet tells me it was Benjamin Franklin and he did have children, however it was in the 1700s so I’m going to go out on a limb and say he was likely NOT the one responsible for getting them to sleep).

I feel confident in saying that there is no way there is any in-charge-of-sleep-parent who does not harbor deep and intense negative feelings towards Daylight Savings Time. It’s just the worst. All that hard work to get a good sleep routine in place, not to mention all the other reasons you are not getting enough sleep, and now there are these two days a year when sleep is threatened, even though you did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Like I said. The worst.

Ready for the good news now? As always, I’ve got you! With Spring Forward just around the corner, here are my 5 foolproof ways to get through it and come out the other side with your baby’s sleep back on track. 

Quick Overview of Daylight Savings Spring Forward Sleep Tips

a clock adjusting to daylight savings time in spring | The Peaceful Sleeper

Before we dive into each tip, here’s a quick overview to get your positive sleep thoughts going!

  1. Use it to extend morning wake up times
  2. Keep it dark
  3. Maintain an already working schedule
  4. Manage your own sleep
  5. Keep things low key

Now, let’s dive into each sleep tip below.

1. Solve Your Early Morning Wake Up Problem! 

Imagine if you could turn Daylight Savings Time into a way to get even better sleep?! Well, it might just be possible.

Is your little one notorious for waking up at the crack of dawn? Spring Forward could be the solution you’ve been looking for!

a baby waking up in the morning of daylight savings spring forward | The Peaceful Sleeper

If your little one wakes up at 5:30am (much to your dismay) then on the first morning of Spring Forward, it will actually be 6:30am when they wake up. This can be the opportunity you have been waiting for to bump their schedule later by an hour or so. This also means that YOU don’t lose an hour of sleep that day, and hopefully moving forward, you now have a more reasonable morning wake-up time.

That is, until Fall Back…… but that’s not for 8 months and I’ll be here to walk you through that time change!  


2. Keep It Dark 

The thing with time change is, depending on where you live, it can suddenly be lighter or darker than it usually is, at your baby’s new bedtime, naps, or wake up time.

For example, it may be dark at 5pm right now where you live, however once we turn the clocks ahead for Spring Forward, it may suddenly be light out at 5pm (because 5pm is the old 4pm).

Baby’s and toddler’s sleep can very much be affected by their environment, so if they are used to sleeping when it is dark out, but now there is light creeping in, it may be difficult for them to go to sleep, or stay asleep. The solution here is to make sure it is dark and stays dark while you want them to be sleeping. If you are not already using them, blackout curtains are key!

They will ensure that no amount of unwelcome sunlight will creep in and disturb your little one. 


3. Maintain a Schedule That’s Already Working 

baby napping on a sleep schedule | The Peaceful Sleeper

Maybe your little one already wakes up at a time that works for you, and the idea of moving the clocks ahead so they get up later, and naps and bedtime are pushed later, is worse than a root canal. If this is the case, I have two options for you.

The first one is where you prep for Spring Forward over the span of 4 days. So for 4 days, you would wake your little one 15 minutes earlier than usual, and naps and bedtime will all naturally fall 15 minutes earlier. By the time 4 days are up, your baby will be going to bed one hour earlier than normal and waking up one hour earlier than normal. So, on the morning that the clocks are turned forward, they are now back on their regular schedule. 

If you would prefer a more “one and done” approach, do nothing until the morning of Daylight Saving Time. On Sunday morning, the clocks will have been moved ahead one hour, so your baby will naturally wake up one hour later than normal. (For example, if they usually wake up at 7am then they would naturally be waking up at 8am.) However, don’t let this happen. Instead, wake them up around 7-7:30am (30-60 minutes earlier than they would normally wake up).

Have first nap on time or up to 30 minutes late, and don’t let them sleep longer than they usually do. Then carry on with the rest of the day, following the new time. At bedtime, you will put them down at the time they would usually go to bed (so if they usually go to bed at 7pm, put them to bed at the new adjusted time of 7pm.) This may feel early, and many children have difficulty going to sleep when their schedule is thrown off even a little bit, so it may be difficult for them to fall asleep on that first night. 

Personally, to combat this, I give my children (when they are older than 2) a children’s dose of melatonin before bed. A children’s dose is about one third of a milligram; my favorite brand is Tired Teddies as it is a yummy flavor and already perfectly dosed. I encourage you to talk with your pediatrician to see if this would be a good option for your little one. Either way, you may have to do the same thing the next day, however they should adjust to the new schedule by day 3. 

woman sleeping trying to adjust to spring forward | The Peaceful Sleeper

4. Manage Your Own Sleep 

Let’s be honest, often the hardest part of navigating Daylight Savings Time is the fact that YOU are tired. And I’m sure we can all agree that when we are tired, we are more grumpy and impatient.

Do yourself a solid and go to bed early on Saturday night. Take a bath, wind down with a book, take some melatonin – do whatever you need to do to get that hour of sleep back that night. It is not the night to stay up watching Love is Blind. Trust me. You (and your spouse) will thank me!  


5. Keep Things Low Key  

family playing games the night before spring forward | The Peaceful Sleeper

Babies and toddlers are inflexible when it comes to sleep. They just don’t have the ability to rally like adults do. So the Sunday of Spring Forward is not the time to be headed out to the zoo or on a road trip where naps will be wonky or missed.

Keep the day low-key and maintain a normal schedule where your little one is given the opportunity to take all their usual naps, in their usual sleep space. And by low-key, I mean not hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party with a cotton candy machine and 56 of your child’s closest friends. Think arts and crafts, Lego building, and family walks for some fresh air. 

Recap of Spring Forward & Baby Sleep Tips

toddler napping on daylight savings time to adjust | The Peaceful Sleeper

Spring Forward doesn’t have to be as stressful as the season’s finale of Ozark. If you follow my 5 tips for managing Daylight Savings Time, you should have everyone’s sleep back on track in a day or two. You got this!

Here’s a quick recap of the 5 sleep tips for Daylight Savings ⤵️

  1. Use it to extend morning wake up times
  2. Keep it dark
  3. Maintain an already working schedule
  4. Manage your own sleep
  5. Keep things low key

If you are looking for more sleep-related tips and advice, I recommend signing up for our Free Email Series! I send you the exact sleep tips, recommendations, and advice that you need, right when you need it!

Click here and enter in your little one’s birthday for perfectly timed sleep help!

Christine Lawler

Christine Lawler

MS, LMFT, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing for over 13 years. I’ve set out to do ALL of the research and I created a method to optimize baby sleep that is tuned in, empowering and WORKS. There absolutely should be joy in motherhood, and I have learned that every baby CAN get better sleep!

Read more about my team here.

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