Author Deb Herdman


Recently in the media, it has been reported that there is some concern about daylight savings which begins early October. Creating panic and reporting a ban on daylight savings after health professionals declare it is bad for your health, is in effect, only partly true. The truth of the matter is, sleep or lack of it is bad for your health in general.

Research data from as early as 2014 investigated a rise in serious health conditions that presented to emergency departments in the first one to three days from the beginning of daylight saving.

“Is the media hype real about Daylight Savings?”

Studies in the USA and Sweden found that heart attacks increase by 10 percent in the three days post daylight saving when clocks are put forward by one hour thus impacting sleep by one hour less. In addition to health associated risks, other countries reported increased traffic accidents on the Monday following a return to daylight savings by 7%. Workplace accidents also increased as a result of lack of sleep and poor concentration.

This information highlights sleep is a necessity not a luxury and just how important it is to maintaining health and wellness.

Daylight savings is lamented by many parents who find maintaining a sleep routine impossible when days are longer. The impact of fewer sleep hours leads to sleep debt. This adds to family stress and can affect mental and physical health and safety.

It’s important for parents to maintain a regular bedtime but to do so, means some strategies will need to be implemented in order to have young children settle when the sun is still up and the rest of the household still active.

A dark room is vital to maintaining your ‘winter’ sleep schedule and wind-down time and sticking to the same routine throughout the year is what you should aim for to getting your little one early to bed.

We all know there are likely to be late nights when families are more active during the summertime but it’s best to limit these and keep your children on track with their normal sleep habits. The odd late night will require you, on the following night, to keep to your normal sleep schedule to avoid later settling and ‘sleep debt’ becoming the new norm.

Sleep debt or sleep deprivation easily leads to a continuous cycle of difficulty falling asleep, broken sleep and wakeful nights and early rising. As a parent, we all know how sleep debt impacts family dynamics, health, and relationships. Keeping sleep hours regular mean, the whole family enjoys daylight saving and we surely need some quality family time as we come out of COVID isolation.


In many households with young children the reality is kids won’t go to sleep whilst the sun is shining. This means bedtime is after 9pm and we all know when children are over tired settling to sleep takes much longer. Then, as is normal when in ‘sleep debt’ night sleeping is disturbed, and broken sleep means you will have to do the resettling. When you finally get them sleeping, don’t expect a sleep in… that’s not how sleep debt works.

As a sleep consultant, I hear so many issues about sleep and one that is a consistent topic of conversation is daylight savings and how it changes the normal bedtime routine leading to sleep latency or longer to settle.

However, with some planning and guidance you will be the envy of your friends when your kids are asleep by 7:30 and your evenings are free.


  1. You fill up your evening schedule with activities and miss the sleep cues.

Daylight saving should not alter the perfectly good routine you had in place over the winter months. You still need sleep discipline.

  1. Your house isn’t prepared for longer daylight hours.

A dark room with no sunlight peeking through is essential to helping your child settle to sleep. Also think about the rooms that your little occupies in that hour leading up to bedtime.

Closing family/living room blinds will also help to begin the settling to sleep mood and environment. Ask other family members NOT to wind up your little one…keep the mood quiet.

  1. Daylight savings mean more noise in the house and traffic in the street and these extra sounds can be distracting enough to prevent your baby or toddler from being able to settle. Prolonged settling time inevitably leads to increased hyperactivity, whingeing, crying and tantrums and parent frustration. 
  1. You are in charge of bedtime so be consistent! We all know Summer activity can lead to late nights ad even one of those can completely change sleep patterns. If you know what steps to take to keep sleep consistent, you’re a huge step ahead of bedtime becoming a nightly battle.


Make sleep a priority! Daylight savings should not affect the way your child sleeps if you stick with your routine, keep sunlight under control so sleep hormones can do their job of making your child sleepy. Keep interruptions out of bedtime preparations and include quiet times, as you prepare your baby for sleeping and not playing. Winding down time is very important to helping your little one approach bedtime calmly.

I recommend masking external noise with audio like the Nigh’ Nigh’ Lullaby that acts as a sleep cue and elicits the hormone dopamine to aid with feeling calm and relaxed.


Be sure not to burn the candle at both ends too many times over the Summer. Sleep debt will catch up with you and affect your mood. Lack of sleep is detrimental to general health, emotional health and family wellbeing. Make sure you take the time to get between 7-9 hours sleep for yourself so that you really enjoying family time rather than survive it.

Sweet Dreams


Deb Herdman is a mother, registered nurse, and baby & child sleep consultant.

As the composer and developer of the Nigh’ Nigh’ Sleepy Head brand, Deb has spent over 7 years helping families conquer sleep debt using her gentle system that aligns with best mental health practice to improve family cohesion through better sleep.

She is the author of 2 digital books and has been published in print, online, and featured in the media in Australia and internationally.

Deb presents interactive sleep workshops to parents with children aged 0 to 5+, parent groups and health institutions and virtual consulting. Opening the world’s first music and play therapy Baby Sleep School her resources are evidence based and different from other sleep resources. For more information visit


You may also like to read:

How to Adjust to Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings