- Jessalyn Romney is “The Sleep Fairy” on Instagram and a mom of four.
- Increasing sleep time by 10 minutes can help babies and toddlers adjust to the time changes, she says.
- This is Romney’s story, as told to Kelly Burch.
This essay is based on a conversation with Jessalyn Romney. Edited for length and clarity.
When I was pregnant with my first child over a decade ago, everyone told me to prepare to never sleep again. But I refused to believe that I had no choice but to be sleep deprived as a mom. I knew there had to be another way.
Well, I made one. My first child slept 12 hours at 12 weeks. Friends told their friends and I spent years texting strangers about their sleep woes. I learned that I loved transforming families by helping them sleep better. I’ve watched people go from feeling overtired and desperate to enjoying parenting because they were getting the sleep they needed.
That’s why I became The Sleep Fairy. I have since developed resources to help babies and families sleep better and started coaching families.
Every year, I see families panic about daylight saving time. The time change can have a big impact on sleep for babies and adults. It may seem life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be. I promise there is a super simple way to handle daylight saving time, even if you didn’t plan ahead.
Gradually adjust your children’s sleep schedule
The best way to help babies and toddlers adjust to the new time is by adjusting their sleep schedule in small increments. This allows their body to adjust gently, without over-tiring.
Ideally, this adjustment starts on the Wednesday before DST. Push your child’s bedtime or bedtime later by just a few minutes each day. Until Sunday, they will sleep according to the schedule. If you haven’t planned ahead, don’t worry. Use the same method, but start on Sunday. By the end of the week, you’ll be back to a regular nap and bedtime routine.
For babies, push their sleep time by 10-15 minutes a day. If your child is usually asleep at 10am but is rubbing his eyes at 9am, put him down at 9:10. The next day, do 9:20, until you readjust to the 10 nap.
Toddlers and older children can adjust their sleep by up to 30 minutes without overtiring. This means that this will be a shorter process for them.
Don’t forget your sleep
Whenever your child goes through a sleep transition, there will be hiccups. And you, as a parent, will need extra sleep to deal with them. So don’t forget to prioritize your own shuteye this weekend.
Adults don’t need to be formal about it – just follow your body’s cues. If you usually go to bed at 9 at night, and now you are tired at 8, feel free to climb into bed early. If you stay up just for the sake of it, you’ll end up overtired. As a mom, I turn into a monster when I don’t get the sleep I need.
The time change is only an hour adjustment, but it can take a full seven to 10 days for babies to adjust. If your transition isn’t going smoothly, don’t throw it away. Stick to the plan of slowly adjusting bedtimes and trust that your little one will catch up. Babies are resilient and will adapt.
We just have to give them time.