It’s daylight saving time and I have to set my clocks forward – what do I do?
During the fall and spring seasons, many countries move into or out of daylight saving time. People in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres begin and end daylight saving time in different months of the year– so when one is moving clocks back, the other is typically moving clocks forward, and vice versa. This post is about what to do when you have to advance your clocks, or put your clocks ahead by one hour (in spring time – around the month of March in the Northern Hemisphere and around the month of October in the Southern Hemisphere). For those of you looking for what to do in the fall when you have to set your clocks back, see Dr. Kimberly Justice’s video.
When you set your clocks ahead, remember that if your child usually goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m., after the time change it will really be 6:30 p.m. when you put him down (according to his internal clock). Your child will probably not be tired, and it may take him a long time to fall asleep. There are two choices you have when approaching this time change.
Your first choice – don’t change his bedtime to compensate for the time change, or the adjustment will take even longer. Just keep putting him to bed at his usual time, when the clock says 7:30.
Another choice is to start moving bedtime earlier before the actual time change. You can start on Saturday night and move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes; or start on Thursday night by moving bedtime earlier by 15 minutes on each successive night.
Regardless of which path you choose, keep waking him at his normal wake time rather than letting him sleep in to compensate for the lost sleep. This will help him make the transition more quickly. He may be cranky from being tired, but this should last only a few days.
About Dr. Erin Leichman