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6 Ways to Handle the Fall Time Change

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 5, at 1:59 A.M., when San Diegans will “fall back” by setting their clocks back one hour, thus regaining the hour they lost in the spring.

This daylight-extending system was first adopted by the Germans in 1915 during WWI as a fuel-saving measure. The British adopted it one year later, with the United States following in 1918 with the passing of the Standard Time Act in Congress. The law was then repealed in 1920 due to opposition from dairy farmers because it confused their cows.

Daylight Saving Time was put back into play during WWII to again save fuel. Since then, Daylight Saving Time has been used with different start and end dates and has been the subject of many differing opinions and criticisms.

“Don’t Let Your Family ‘Fall Back’ with the Time Change.”


Given that the circumstances for Daylight Saving Time have changed significantly in modern times, many families find themselves a little disrupted with the fall time change. The disruption doesn’t usually last long and families settle into their new routines. However, for many families, this “falling back”transition can be difficult.


Get Your Hour Back! 6 Tips to Prepare Your Family for the Fall Time Change:


  1. Gradually Adjust Sleep Schedules:

All children are different, and some may not even notice the time change. However, babies and toddlers are more likely to be affected, as they rely heavily on their internal clock for sleep schedules rather than external clocks and alarms like older children and adults do.

Plan ahead to minimize the impact of the time change by gradually “falling back” young children’s sleep schedules. You can shift everything back by 10-15 every two days until they are close to waking up an hour later than normal. The result is they will already be adjusted to the fall time change when you have to make the change yourself. If it works, you just might get that extra hour of sleep you’ve been dreaming of…


  1. Plan for More Sunlight in the Bedroom:

You may find yourself waking up earlier than expected if you aren’t planning for the burst of morning sunlight in the bedroom. Prepare to keep the sun out with dark shades or curtains. Otherwise, the natural stimulating effect of daylight may pull you out from under the covers an hour earlier than you would like.

This also holds true for children. Make sure their rooms are prepared so that the early morning sun does not wake your child before you want them to get up after the fall time change.


  1. Keep Your Family’s Schedule:

In addition to keeping your normal sleep schedule, the time change will affect everything from meal time to naps and bedtime rituals. Don’t just keep your wake-up and bed times the same and expect the rest of your family’s routines to fall in line.

Make sure to keep everything on the same schedule as before, just an hour later. The closer you stick with their normal routines, the faster you family’s bodies will adjust to it.

“Don’t just keep your wake-up and bedtime and expect the rest of your body’s routines to fall in line.”


  1. Enjoy The Extra Hour of Sleep:

Many use the extra hour as a chance to gain a bit on their lack of sleep. For those that still wake up early, stay in bed and don’t get up until your normal time. It is best to keep your sleep routine and signal to your body that this is the new time to rise. It will also help you from falling asleep early at night.


  1. Embrace the Evening:

Most of us have a natural desire to be inside and hibernate as soon as it gets dark outside. Resist the urge to call it a day as soon as the sun sets. Don’t let the shorter days cut into how much activity you get. Find an evening routine that keeps you engaged, but also relaxes and prepares you for sleep. This means minimizing overstimulation with artificial light, and turning off the television, computer, or tablet at least 1 ½ hours before bed.


  1. Boost Melatonin to Improve Sleep:

Try to maximize your exposure to sunlight during the day so that you are getting as much natural light exposure as possible after the fall time change. This will stimulate melatonin, your goodnight sleep hormone.

  • Open blinds to expose sunlight as soon as you wake.
  • Get outside during the day if you are in an office.
  • Open your office blinds and use full-spectrum bulbs at your workstation to get everything you can out of the daylight.


The ‘Fall Back” time change will affect everyone in your family differently. Some are more prone to depression from the lack of daylight, some have difficulty adjusting their sleep routines, and some will use it to gain an extra hour to feel recharged and refreshed.


It is important to be aware of these effects, and create a routine that minimizes the impact of the time change on the different members of your family. If the issues become chronic or severe, or if you have questions about depression, sleep disorders such as insomnia, or healthy sleep routines for your family, contact one of our excellent specialists at Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups today!


Do you have a “Fall Back” routine that works for your family? Tell us about it in the comments below!




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