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Time to “Fall Back” - How to prepare for and support the change with the end of daylight savings

Written by Ariel Campbell for Nest Integrative Wellness

Daylight savings comes to an end on Sunday, November 6, 2022. At 2:00AM we “fall back” one hour. Gaining an extra hour is a different story when you have kids, it’s not all extra sleep and coziness. Instead of stressing over this time change, read ahead for tips to prepare and support through the change. 

daylight savings

How does the time change affect our sleep?

Our bodies are regulated by the circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle that balances bodily functions like sleep. This natural process is influenced by light and darkness and to reset each day, we must be synchronized with natural light and dark exposure to encourage healthy, natural sleep. Resetting our clocks during time changes around daylight savings can cause confusion for the body, though luckily it’s less drastic with the transition in the fall. 


How to navigate this time change?

Do nothing. This may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t need to stress about this as much as you may think. This is especially true if you have a baby under 6 months, or a more easy going, adaptable child. Some children won’t be affected by this time change at all, and those who are will naturally adapt within 3 days to a week. Being able to go with the flow and allow this process to happen naturally may reduce stress and be the easiest approach to this time change. 

Gradual Shifts. This process works well for older babies (6-18 months) or a child who is more sensitive to change and needs time to adapt. 4-7 days before the change, move bedtime later by 15 minute increments. Just be sure to move the rest of your daily schedule to match. This way once the clocks are turned back (and 7PM becomes 6PM) your baby will already be used to the new, “later” time. 

Procrastinator’s Plan. If you have an older baby (18+ months), or are working on a last minute schedule and have to make changes in a shorter period of time, you can adjust your schedule quickly. Instead of moving bedtime later by 15 minute increments, you can adjust by 20-30 minutes over 2-3 days.

What does this look like?

If your baby normally goes to bed at 7:30pm, a gradual change could look like this:

Monday & Tuesday bedtime moves to 7:45pm. 

Wednesday bedtime moves to 8pm.

Thursday bedtime moves to 8:15pm.

Friday & Saturday moves to 8:30pm. 

This means that on Sunday when the clocks change, that adjusted 8:30pm bedtime will now be 7:30pm, keeping you in line with your normal bedtime.


Things to keep in mind

  • Use lights to your advantage. Keep the lights dim in the morning to offset the earlier sunrise, and keep them on later in the evening to offset the earlier sunset.
  • Be prepared for a few early mornings as your child’s circadian rhythm adjusts. Even with preparation, we’re still navigating a change to our internal patterns and there may still be adjustment time. 
  • Due to the circadian rhythm is influenced by natural sunlight exposure, spending time outdoors during light hours as much as possible will support a natural adjustment, as well as the production of melatonin, which will realign your internal clock. 
  • Focus on routine. Babies can adjust to this time change pretty easily, and keeping to your regular routine will help a lot. A routine helps create predictability, which is where babies and children thrive. 
  • Give yourself, and your child, some grace. Transitions are tough, and can feel like a big challenge for some little bodies. Act in love, focus on connection, and lean into the snuggles to help everyone navigate through this change. Include your partner and others in your village so that you are not alone, and know that this will balance out within a few days to a week.


For personalized support with infant and toddler sleep, you can book a prenatal education session or postnatal consultation with Ariel Campbell, Nest’s Sleep Support Coach on our booking page.