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How to Keep Daylight Saving Time From Wrecking Sleep

Sleep expert Heather Turgeon, co-author of "The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep—Newborn to School Age," will fix your family's sleep problems in this space as she does in her home consultations. Turgeon's solutions are nonjudgmental, kind and—best of all—based on science.

No situation is too challenging. Leave your sleep problem in the comments. Let's all get a good night's sleep, finally.

Dear Heather,

What am I going to do about the baby's sleep and this weekend's time change for Daylight Saving Time?

— Not Ready to Spring Forward

Dear Not Ready,

We’re moving the clocks FORWARD one hour on Sunday, March 8. So as of Sunday morning, what your internal clock feels is 6:00 a.m. (the old time) will now be 7:00 a.m.

In general, kids can jump right to the new time without much of a problem. On Sunday night, you can try putting your child down at his normal bedtime (let’s say, 7:30 p.m.). Even though his body will feel like it’s 6:30, your child might surprise you and fall asleep just fine. Unless he napped late in the day or slept in that morning (so plan for that). If you have very consistent sleep routines and schedules (so your child will really notice the difference), try putting him to bed 30 minutes later on Sunday night (8:00 p.m. on the clock, 7:00 p.m. for his body), and then go for 7:30 p.m. on Monday night.

Babies can be a little more sensitive to the shift, so adjusting them gradually will help. To do this, start three days before the time change (i.e., Thursday night) and move sleep times (bedtime and naps) 20 minutes earlier each day.

The bright side to springing forward is that what was once 5:00 a.m. will now be 6:00 a.m. If you have an early riser, this is a welcome and good turning point for you.

Let me know how it goes in comments.

Sleep happy,

Heather

Image via Twenty20/Anna.Merry

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