A parent tends to their sleeping child.

“Fall Back” Doesn’t Have to Disrupt Your Child’s Sleep

Sleep Care, Children's Health
We all cherish our sleep. And when November rolls around, kids tend to get thrown off with the time change. Just an hour can make a big shift in their routine, so preparing children for the end of Daylight Saving Time will benefit all involved. Bayhealth Family Medicine and Sleep Medicine Physician Rohin S. Saroya, MD, shares four tips to help families get the sleep they need:

1. Start adjusting bedtime in advance— “In preparation of the time change, a week or so before, push back your children’s bedtime by a small increment each night,” shares Dr. Saroya. Even just 10-15 minutes each day should make a huge difference once Daylight Saving Time ends. This should keep your children waking up the next morning around a similar time to their normal routine.

2. Don’t sleep in— The morning in which we “gain an hour,” don’t let your child sleep past their normal wake-up time. If they don’t wake up on their own, gently wake them so that they are sticking with their routine. “The goal is to have them feeling ready to go to sleep that night close to their normal bedtime,” says Dr. Saroya.

3. Use the power of the sun— Sunshine has a powerful effect on our circadian rhythm, our body’s internal sleep cycle. “First thing in the morning, make sure your children are getting exposure to the sun,” advises Dr. Saroya. This helps their 24-hour cycle stay regulated and should help them to mostly stay on track with their sleep patterns.

4. Avoid any major transitions— Daylight Saving Time ending is already going to be a bit of an adjustment on your children. “If possible, try to avoid any major schedule modifications during the weekend of the time change,” says Dr. Saroya. This is not the weekend to try a new nap schedule or go on a trip. It’s best to help your children adjust with the time difference at home, and as close to their regular routine as possible.

Consistency and preparation are key when it comes to helping your children through the time change. Your kids will greatly benefit from you being proactive and aware of how you can help protect their sleep routine.

Visit Bayhealth.org/Services/Sleep for more information about sleep health.