Spring forward AND sleep! Our top tips for the clock change

Daylight Savings time begins on 27th March 2016 in the UK and 13th March in the USA.
With it comes the dusky evenings and brighter mornings, the promise of warmer weather and Summer on the horizon. It can also bring some sleep disruption for lots of children (and parents); earlier starts, earlier bedtimes, overtiredness and night waking. It can throw even the strongest routine into chaos.

I have always found the clocks going forward a lot harder with children mostly because I am not a fan of early starts!! I’ve tried the ‘just go with it’ approach and the gradual transition into it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do before the change, it is how you approach it after the clocks have gone forward.

Here are our top tips for preparing and adjusting your baby’s routine for the clock change:

  1. For those who are currently experiencing early waking, the clocks moving forward will appear to solve this issue.  However this is likely to be short lived as after a few days the baby will adapt to the new time.  Make sure your routine is working as it should.
  2. If you want to gradually change it. In the 6 days leading up to the clock change bring bedtime forward by 5 minutes a day and wake 5 minutes earlier from their last nap.
  3. If you want to just ‘go with it’ then put them to bed as usual on Saturday but bear in mind that they will have had 1 hour less sleep that night which may have a knock on effect on the next day.
  4. On Saturday before the clocks change make sure you have a ‘busy’ day where you get out and about and encourage lots of activities.  They should then go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  5. On Sunday wake them at 7am.  Starting the day at 7am will set you up for the rest of the day.
  6. Continue with your normal routine.  As they will have had 30 minutes less sleep it might require a slightly earlier nap time of 5-10 minutes to prevent overtiredness.
  7. Try not to think ‘new time’ or ‘old time’ and just think time.  A baby will adjust quicker if you continue with the timings of their naps and meals.
  8. Remember that it will now be significantly lighter at bedtime and earlier in the morning.  If you haven’t got blackout blinds now is a great time to get some.  Early waking can be caused by light disturbing a baby when they come into light sleep.  The light sends the signal to the baby that it is time to wake up , keeping it as dark as possible will help encourage a later wake up.
  9. A baby has no concept of time so having a routine will help them adjust their body clocks.  It may take a few days for them to adjust completely but be consistent and stick to their timings.
  10. Make sure that you get out and about in the natural light first thing in the morning.  Bright lights first thing help to adjust a baby’s internal body clock.  Dim lights in the hour before bedtime will stimulate melatonin production which aids sleep.

If you are having problems with your child’s sleep before or after the clock change, get in touch at help@babytechsupport.co.uk

Gemma at Baby Tech Support

4th March 2016

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