Here in the US, the daylight savings time shift is a couple of weeks away. This shift is the "fall behind" where 2am suddenly becomes 1am, but in the spring, it reverses.

I am wondering what (if any) effect this will have on our 7-month old? He's pretty consistent with bed times and morning wake times (within 30 mins) and suddenly being woken an hour earlier and having his night-time routine bumped an hour may be traumatic (for us).

What can we do to ease the transition? In spring, when it changes again, what challenges will we likely face (he'll be about a year old then)?

asked 21 Oct '09, 17:20

Rob%20Allen's gravatar image

Rob Allen
accept rate: 12%


Great question. I'm curious to see the answer for another reason: the shift throws me off really hard each time.

(21 Oct '09, 18:01) Dinah

I've not found daylight savings to be much of a problem. I live in Sweden and switching from 2 hours of daylight to 20 and back is more of a challenge.

  • Yes it is bright out but you should be asleep, it's 2 in the morning... :)

(Moved from answer to comment.)

(22 Oct '09, 05:04) Idstam

We've never found it a massive problem, but then our children have perhaps not been that consistent with sleeping times anyway.

When I did try to prepare for daylight savings changes, I would try to ease into the new times over a few days, shifting what routine we had by perhaps 15-30 minutes each day. Weekends are usually more flexible and that's when the clocks go back, so it might look something like this if the bedtime routine starts at 7pm, say:

  • Friday - 7:00pm as normal
  • Saturday - 7:20pm
  • Sunday - 6:40pm (yesterday's 7:40pm)
  • Monday - 7:00pm - back to normal!

When the clocks go forward in the spring, a few extra trips to the play park over the change weekend might help to increase the tiredness level.

We've found that putting them to bed earlier than normal is risky, since they might just not go to sleep.

I can't claim to have done anything scientific on the subject -- it's really just a thought experiment, and as I say, the results were not traumatic enough to remember, so it can't have been that bad.


answered 21 Oct '09, 17:56

Paul%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Paul Stephenson
accept rate: 4%

edited 21 Oct '09, 20:00

I would suggest that in the spring, you try to put him to bed half an hour earlier, so he'll have a half-hour shorter day, followed by a half hour shorter night, and then it'll be back to normal.

The "fall back" shift is more likely to be annoying for you than your son - he'll probably wake up and expect you to be up too, whereas you'd no doubt rather like the extra hour in bed...

To be honest, we've never found it a problem at all - it's not particularly unusual for us to have to get up early or go to bed late on occasion, and everyone's just coped.

The other thing to remember is that the transition usually happens on a Saturday night / Sunday morning - does your Sunday morning routine force you to get up at a particular time? You may well just be able to get away with letting your son sleep until he wakes up, and then go to bed at the normal clock time... leading to a slightly longer or shorter day, but a natural amount of sleep.

(On a side note, your question's title gave me the shivers... I'm sure that even if your son's routine is put out of kilter for a few days, it won't be half as painful for you as DST is for me professionally, working on calendar-related software. Why can't we all just use UTC? Humans are very silly.)


answered 21 Oct '09, 18:35

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%

It boggles my mind why folks who depend on sunlight can't just adjust. I don't know when its daylight unless I'm on vacation.

(21 Oct '09, 19:43) Rob Allen

The best part is when they legislate a change to it, so all the existing embedded systems need to be updated to work correctly. Here we call that a "make work" project.

(21 Oct '09, 20:06) Scott ♦♦

@Scott: Tell me about it. On October 7th 2009, Argentina announced it wouldn't do DST any more. The next DST change was due 11 days later. Nice of them to give so much warning.

(21 Oct '09, 20:23) Jon Skeet

It took my daughter a couple weeks to adjust to her first few daylight savings time changes. But she adapted pretty quickly. I don't recall a huge impact on my son over the last two, but he was also being breastfed at the time, so he wasn't sleeping through the night until after the last change. We'll see how he handles the "fall back" but I expect he will be getting me up earlier in the morning until he adjusts. We'll just continue to keep him up until his regular bedtime in the evenings, and he should adapt pretty quick.

If you keep the bedtime regular it does help, because their bodies try to stay on the normal sleeping schedule. They may run on a little less sleep for a little while but it's no worse than jet lag.


answered 21 Oct '09, 21:10

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 21 Oct '09, 17:20

Seen: 3,012 times

Last updated: 22 Oct '09, 05:03