Top 3 Ways to Prep Your Child for Daylight Savings Time Change

Montreal, Canada, March 12, 2016 --( Daylight Savings Time (DST) change is just around the corner. On March 13th we will be setting the clocks forward by 1 hour. The time change disrupts the sleep of many children and their families. Jamie Cassoff, founder of Sleep Smartzzz, is a Pediatric Sleep Consultant and has a PhD in Psychology from McGill University where she specialized in child and adolescent sleep. She currently uses her understanding about science behind sleep to help improve the sleep of babies, children and adolescents.

Here are her top 3 recommendations for making the DST change go as smoothly as possible for the entire family:

1.Take baby steps!

Although some children may not experience the effects of the hour time change, for others the hour difference will lead to sleep difficulties and mood changes. One recommendation is to take baby steps and slowly change your child’s nap time(s) and bedtime in the days leading up to the time change. Let’s say your child’s usual bedtime is 7PM. The night before the time change, try to putting him/her to sleep 30 minutes earlier. This way the change will be happening in 30 minute increments instead of 60 minutes all at once (you can also start 4 days before and move nap and bedtimes 15 minutes earlier). The other option is do the cold turkey approach without taking baby steps - this can work equally well for some families. The key is to choose the method that best suits your child, family, personality and lifestyle.

2. Stick to your routine!

In the nights leading up to the time change, try to stick to your child’s bedtime routine as much as possible (Whatever it may be! For example, bath, story time, cuddle, bed). Our brains and bodies crave routine! The more you stick with it, the more it will be easier for your child to go to bed even when the time on the clock is different. This is probably not the week that you want to deviate too much from your child’s schedule by having super late bedtimes, skipping naps or anything else that is different than their usual day to day routine.

3. Do not underestimate the light!

When it begins to get dark in our environment, the hormone Melatonin is secreted in our brain. It tells are brain that it is time for our body to feel sleepy and to go to sleep. When it is light in our environment, Melatonin is supressed and our body no longer feels tired. Daylight savings time throws our system out of whack a little bit and our little ones are expected to go to sleep when it is still light outside but Melatonin is not there to help! Here is a potential solution: dim the lights in your child’s bedroom and turn off all electronics (Tablets, TVs, computers) 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. The light emitted from these devices tells their brains that it is not time for sleep and prevents Melatonin from being secreted. On the other hand, in the morning, get your child in the light as much as possible (30 minutes is ideal). One recommendation is to take your child outside first thing in the morning (e.g. have breakfast outside or walk the dog), or if it’s too cold, open the windows and let in some natural light. This will help his/her internal clock adjust to the time change by telling the brain that it is time to be alert for the day ahead!

If you are interested in more information about the DST change or about Dr. Cassoff’s sleep consulting services, visit her website or contact her via phone at 514.589.4390 or email at for a free 15-minute consultation.
Sleep Smartzzz
Dr. Jamie Cassoff
514 589 4390