Copied from my 2018 blog post!! Yay I didn't know I'd already written this!
Daylight Savings Time is coming again.
I hear rumors that several states are voting to get rid of it - but in any case, it's still here, so we need to prepare! This is the change I used to LOVE when I was in High School and College: my 7am wakeup was pushed back an hour... I had one more hour of sleep for what felt like weeks. It is now the source of unwelcomed anxiety. (Is any anxiety welcomed?) Our kiddo is an early riser and he is up around 6:30-7am on his own. This isn't too bad, but when I think that he'll start waking up at 5:30-6am, my heart starts racing. I NEED my sleep! Luckily, as in all cases to do with sleep science- there are ways to prepare before this sleep-stealing monster arrives.
Check out my advice below to combat the early wakeup.
1- Move bedtime back slowly. As we near the date, we'll want to slowly push bedtime so that baby's body starts getting used to going down at a later time. (Therefore waking up a little later). We don't want to do this with big increments because it can cause overtiredness and nightwakings.
My preference is moving bedtime back by 10-15 minutes every day before DST, until you arrive at your new bedtime.
For example: if your baby has been falling asleep at 7:30pm :
keep him up until 7:40 on day 1
7:50 on day 2
8:00 on day 3
8:10 on day 4
8:20 on day 6
8:30 on day 7 - one week!
This way when DST arrives, baby will still have the 7:30 bedtime, and will wake up at an appropriate hour the next day.
Tip: Plan out your calendar: This year DST falls on November 3 (in Texas), that means that we want to start working on shifting bedtime anywhere between half a week or a week and a half before that, depending on how flexible your baby is - that means today you can start and see how a 10 minute difference works out! If you have a very flexible baby (sleep-wise) start moving bedtime back 15 minutes on Wednesday, Oct 31. Then push it back this same increment every night until Nov 2nd. If you know this will throw your kiddo off too much give yourself more days and shorter increments. There is no one answer to how many days and how much you should push bedtime back - the idea is to just slowly move bedtime close to the one hour back so that it doesn't come as a shock.
2- If you don't mind the earlier waking, you can also wait until DST, and start shifting bedtime back then. What I definitely don't recommend is sticking to the same bedtime even though time has changed. That is an equation for a grumpy, over-tired kid that will still wake up early the next day, and will give you, as a parent, less rest. Let me know what you think! What is your plan?
Now I know this is a bit late for UK folks but fear not, you can still slowly (or quickly) move bedtime back as DST approaches. You may just have some 'earlier' wakeups for a bit.
-push naps back by the same increment the next day as much as possible
-make mornings REALLY slow and the last hour of the day as well. Don't do high energy things close to bedtime! -keep their room as DARK as you can in the morning
-let them figure out the morning a bit on their own: aka maybe let them be on their own for a few minutes before they call out for you. and when you come in keep it dark until desired wakeup time.
-work with the sun! LOTS of sunlight before bed, not much in the morning before desired wakeup time!