Adjusting Kids' Sleep Schedules for Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time begins March 11. Do longer hours of daylight mean more time for play and outdoor activities? “Not necessarily,” says Morgan Griffith, owner of Sleep Pea, a local infant and toddler sleep consultancy. “Stretching kids to stay up longer only increases cortisol, the main stress hormone associated with sleep, making it harder for children to fall asleep and stay asleep.” To help navigate the time change, Griffith encourages parents to:

  • Adjust bedtimes forward by 30 minutes for three days following the time change.
  • Naps and meals will also slide forward. A 7 p.m. asleep time now becomes a 7:30 p.m. asleep time (or 6:30 p.m. according to your child’s body clock).
  • On the fourth night, revert back to your child’s normal bedtime. The temporary 7:30 p.m. asleep time once again becomes a 7 p.m. asleep time. Give your child roughly one week to adjust.
  • Use a toddler sleep clock with nighttime and daytime visuals to help preschoolers understand sleep parameters.
  • Invest in blackout shades to help support healthy melatonin levels.