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Don’t Let the End of Daylight Savings Time Ruin Your Healthy Sleep Routine

Published in Pediatrics, Sleep Medicine, For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO

Fall signifies falling leaves and falling temperatures. Clocks will soon fall back an hour, too. Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, Nov. 5. Days start becoming lighter in the morning and darker in the evening. It can be a joyous time for people who are excited about getting an extra hour of sleep on Sunday night and those who want some extra daylight in the morning.

However, the time change can wreak havoc on your sleep routine for days or weeks to follow. This can be a particularly challenging time for parents with infants and small children.

Here are some tips you can try to adjust your sleep routine to the time change gradually:

  • It’s a good idea to do a slow transition. If you have a regular sleep schedule, your body will feel ready for bed earlier. In the days leading up to the time change, try staying awake for an extra 15-20 minutes each night. Start this method 3-4 days before the big change.
  • Avoid using your ‘extra hour’ of sleep as an excuse to stay up later.
  • Make sure you’re sleep training your child correctly. Remember, it’s the end of Daylight Savings Time, not the beginning. You don’t want to put your child to bed earlier. If you’re trying to keep the same bedtime as before, you’ll want to encourage your child to stay up a bit longer. Otherwise, they’ll be up an hour earlier in the morning which may further interfere with your new sleep routine.
  • Keep a consistent schedule with other activities that also serve as time cues, including eating and exercise. Those activities should also be adjusted for the new schedule. For parents with young children, this also means keeping a consistent bedtime routine, too. If you normally bathe your child before bed, make sure you continue that.
  • You may be tempted to turn to electronic devices to help you stay awake longer while you’re adjusting. However, you should avoid screen time at least 60-90 minutes before bed.
  • It’s important to get outside and be active during the daylight. This may help those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Even though the end of Daylight Savings Time can be a smoother transition than the start, it can still take a few weeks before you’re fully acclimated to your new sleep schedule. If you have questions or concerns about your sleep, make an appointment to speak with your primary care provider.