Before you were a parent, early November marked the end of Daylight Savings. The result was an extra hour to do with what you pleased. Now that you're a parent, you probably see things differently.
Instead of getting to relish in the extra time that the end of daylight savings brings, you're likely trying to wrangle restless babies who aren't adjusting very well to their new schedule. Sounds fun, huh? Well, if you liked that, you'll love these 10 things you should know about daylight savings and your baby's sleeping schedule.
10 Parents Prefer "Falling Back"
Each year, during Spring and Fall, we either set our clocks forward or back an hour. In Spring, which kicks off daylight savings, we essentially "spring forward" an hour (which means we lose it). And when Fall rolls around, thus ending daylight savings, we "fall back" (which means we gain an hour).
In terms of sleepy babies, gaining an hour in November is the preferred shift. Even though it might not be easy, shifting bedtimes to accommodate the time change is easier than dealing with a baby who's lost an hour of sleep.
9 But The Time Change Can Throw Their Circadian Rhythm
The end of daylight savings still affects a baby's circadian rhythm—the internal, biological clock which controls their sleep patterns. It's influenced by the amount of daylight they're exposed to, so losing an hour in spring and gaining an hour in fall can throw off their sleep routine.
Unlike adults who can get by on 6-8, babies need between 12-16 hours of sleep every night. Daylight savings shifts their patterns by an hour every six or so months. And while that might not seem like much, that hour is enough to negatively impact their ability to rest.
8 Daylight Savings Might Not Effect Them
Babies need three things to be happy: food, sleep, and shelter. When those needs aren't met, they cry. But every now and then, your baby might surprise you.
Despite all of the noise about daylight savings ending, your baby might not end up being affected at all. Some babies sleep well, naturally. This means that it doesn't matter when they're put down to bed, they will drift off and sleep through the night—at least until they need to feed. And if something upsets that routine, they'll easily adjust.
7 Or, It Might Turn Their World Upside Down
With that being said, most babies need regular, undisturbed sleep. When you think of the reasons why, it makes total sense, too. Babies do a great deal of growing and changing over their first five years, and most of that development happens in their sleep.
The Sleep Foundation states that when babies sleep, they experience an increase of blood to their muscles and growth to their tissue and muscles. Their bodies also release hormones that are crucial to development.
6 They Will Go To Sleep And Get Up Earlier
The end of daylight savings essentially shifts your baby's schedule back an hour. After Nov. 3, what used to be 8 pm will then be 7 pm. If you used to put your baby to sleep at eight, that creates an extra hour that wasn't there in their routine.
If you allow your baby to fall asleep naturally, their new bedtime will be 7 pm, instead of 8. While that might sound wonderful, you should know that a baby who falls asleep early will also wake up early. And since babies are already notorious for being early risers, you may want to rethink this plan.
5 They Might Be Extra Cranky
All babies cry and fuss when their core needs aren't being met. But you haven't met a cranky baby until you've seen one who hasn't had enough sleep. There's no amount of consoling that will soothe them, outside of sleep.
The thing about babies, however, is that sleepiness isn't enough to make them fall asleep. They have to be taught to put themselves to sleep. So, until they learn how to do that, you can expect the end of daylight savings to impact their mood.
4 You Should Ease Into The Transition
There are some things that you can do to ease this transition. Instead of waiting until the time change and letting that chips fall where they may, you might consider shifting your baby's sleep schedule gradually.
Pampers suggests shifting bedtime forward by fifteen minutes over three days. If their normal bedtime was 8 pm, you should put them down at 8:15, then 8:30, and 8:45. Then, on the fourth day (Nov.3), the baby will be put down for bed at 9:00 (which used to be 8:00).
3 Dark Curtains Might Help Them Fall Asleep
Every baby's bedtime routine is different. Some parents might bathe and feed their babies right before bed. Or, they might end the night with a bottle and a story. These things are fine, but you might also consider investing in dark curtains for their nursery.
Our bodies are conditioned to feel sleepy when it's dark outside. So, if your baby is having a hard time adjusting to the time change, dark curtains which block out natural light will make them think it's night time. And it might help their bodies kick into sleep mode.
2 You Should Avoid Stimulating Them In The Evening
If you want your baby to go to sleep, you should avoid stimulating them too late in the day. Overstimulation late in the day extends the baby's bedtime.
This means that you should avoid playing with them, listening to music, or even giving them caffeine (which should already be barred from their diet), as the day winds down. Instead, prep them for bedtime by gradually slowing down your routine, and eventually, transporting them into a darkened nursery.
1 It's Not The End Of The World
Once you realize that all of the hard work you put into getting your baby on a schedule is washed away because of a time change, you might be a little disappointed. This is perfectly normal and you shouldn't beat yourself up about it.
Besides, you should look at the bright side. This is a temporary change. Your baby will adjust, and life will go one as it did before. Just give things a little time!