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Hatch Rest+ Review: This baby sound machine and night-light is my secret weapon for surviving daylight saving time

Circadian rhythms might betray you, but this toddler clock never will.

A glowing green Hatch Rest+ toddler clock/night-light.
Hatch Rest+ is a daylight saving time game changer.

My now-4-year-old son was born about a month before that year’s daylight saving time began. At the time, the very idea of sleep was more of a pipe dream — the only kind of dream possible when you’re a sleep-starved parent — but the impending “spring forward” added to my anxiety nevertheless. And it did again that fall, when my son was painstakingly sleep trained and the end of daylight saving time meant another disruption to our carefully calibrated routine.

Every year since, not like clockwork but literally clockwork, I've endured a semiannual mini-sleep regression because kids who can’t tell time don’t understand the concept of gaining or losing an hour of sleep. But for Sleep Awareness Week 2024, I’m here to tell you about the smart toddler clock that has saved me time and time again — not just when the clock springs forward or falls back, but pretty much every morning — the Hatch Rest+ time-to-rise clock.

This time-to-rise clock is a Swiss Army knife sleep machine – part night-light, part sound machine, part sound monitor, the Hatch Rest+ works by setting bedtime routines that help your kid sleep (which means it helps you sleep too).

  • Remote access via app
  • Dimmable light and clock
  • 8-hour battery life
  • Built-in two-way sound monitor
  • Some trial and error with back-to-back routines
  • Pricier than some competitors
$85 at Walmart
Explore more purchase options
$90 at Amazon$90 at Nordstrom

What is a toddler clock?

You may already be familiar with the concept of a toddler clock or an “OK to wake” or “time to rise” clock. If not, it’s a product that essentially solves the problem of young kids waking their parents up at whatever time they perceive to be morning (even if it’s only 4 a.m., and, yes, I speak from experience). Where I live in Sacramento, Calif., the sunrise time varies by almost two hours throughout the year, so you can’t count on the sun as a toddler-legible visual cue. Short of teaching your toddler to tell time, there’s not much of a solution here.

But a toddler clock can make a good substitute. The Hatch Rest+ is a night-light whose color indicates even to a young child whether it’s time to get out of bed or if it’s still sleep time. Think of it like a sunrise you can program for whatever time you’d like. As long as your toddler knows their colors, they can probably be taught to obey the almighty color-changing sleep machine. And if all else fails, the Hatch also functions as a sound monitor, so you can tell your kid to get back in bed without getting out of yours.

How does the Hatch Rest+ work?

The self-proclaimed “smart sleep machine” is a cylindrical night-light with infinite color options and a sliding brightness-dimness scale. It’s also a noise machine, featuring 11 sound options (including lullabies, white noise and the soothing chirp of birdsong) with a volume slider. And all of the above can be customized and controlled by the free Hatch app, either ad-hoc or via recurring set-it-and-forget-it programs.

Pick a colored night-light for sleep time and another for wake-up time, for example. Or pick one color for naps, one for night and one that signals to your child that it’s almost — but not quite! — time to wake up. You can pair these night-light routines with the built-in sound machine options too. For instance, maybe bedtime includes a soft yellow light with accompanying rainfall noise. Or maybe you loop a soothing lullaby as your child drifts off, keeping only the night-light aglow after they’re down for the count.

I set mine to begin playing a lullaby as a trigger for my son's toothbrushing-and-pajama routine to commence. Then the lullaby and a dim blue light help my son sleep through the night. When the lullaby ends and the light turns green, he knows it’s time for his daily “Help, I woke up!” announcement. Until then, he stays in his bedroom and plays quietly with his toys. If this sounds like I’m living the dream — not to mention dreaming in general — I can tell you I most definitely am.

Since the Hatch is app-controlled, you can customize as many different routines as you want — I set mine for a half hour later on weekends — and you can even alter the schedule remotely as you see fit. This is key for those times you stay up too late yourself and feel like you need to sleep in a bit. Just change the time-to-rise and your kid is none the wiser. Does it kind of feel like pulling one over on your child? Yes, it does. Should you feel guilty about that? No, you should feel all-powerful!

Setting a new program with the Hatch Rest+
Setting a new program with the Hatch Rest+

Using the Hatch Rest+ during daylight saving time

The annual spring and fall changing-of-the-clocks is where the Hatch Rest+ really shines. Your toddler’s circadian rhythms might be telling them it’s time to get up, but if their trusty night-light says otherwise, then it must not be true! And sure, maybe a night-light won’t fix insomnia or sleep deprivation in you or your child, but it can fix the problem of premature pitter-patters outside your bedroom door.

Why not use a cheaper toddler clock?

I’ve tested other toddler clocks in the past (the Mella, the REMI, the Stoplight Clock, etc.) and none were as foolproof as the Hatch. Competitor models weren’t as customizable or easy to use, and some more affordable options don’t allow parents to alter the clock remotely, which is a deal breaker.

How does the Hatch Rest+ compare to the Hatch Rest?

Hatch also offers a few different models with varying price points. I have the first-gen Rest+, which is similar to the second-gen version and costs the same — you’ll get extra sound options and a sleep library of additional bedtime stories and sleep sounds with the newer version. Remove the “+” and get a Hatch Rest and you’ll spend less but miss out on the eight-hour battery backup, which I can personally attest is a lifesaver during a power outage.

Final thoughts

As someone who values sleep above pretty much everything else, the Hatch Rest+ has been such a game changer for me that I recommend it not only to people who use competitor models but to those who’ve never heard of a toddler clock in the first place. In my experience, this sleep machine is worth every penny, and if you’re on a budget, the basic model is almost as good.

Unless your toddler learned to tell time early or you love crack-of-dawn wake-ups, this smart night-light and toddler clock is something to add to your dream list of nursery must-haves — pun intended.

$85 at Walmart
Explore more purchase options
$90 at Amazon$90 at Nordstrom