How do you keep your child’s sleep routine on track when the clocks change in the Autumn?
Daylight savings, clock change and baby sleep! If it’s not one thing with your baby’s sleep it’s another! Unfortunately there’s no automatic change programmed into our little ones with this biannual shift. Let’s take a look at helping to adjust to this new time change.
Clock changes happen twice a year in the UK. Let’s get you ready for a smoother transition for Sunday, October 27th 2024 in Europe (slightly later on 3rd November in the USA). Our clocks go BACKWARDS (fall back) an hour. Essentially, the daylight saving time change means we’ll have more daylight in the morning and less in the evenings.
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When does the time change?
2am on Sunday, October 27th 2024 in Europe (slightly later on 3rd November in the USA).
Why did daylight saving time start?
Daylight savings is controversial! Love it or hate it, the main point is that it enables us to make the most of the summer daylight hours, helpful for professions working outside.
Does daylight savings clock change affect baby sleep?
If your little one is on a nice ‘by the clock’ schedule then any change can seem to throw them off. Our body clocks and circadian rhythms are also highly governed by light exposure. Just like adjusting to jet lag, changes are not well tolerated by our bodies. Our internal clocks are stubborn!
We all adjust eventually, but to avoid overtiredness you may want to ‘help’ your little one adjust to the hour time change so the following week feels a little easier. We’ll help shift their wake up time and baby’s bedtime too.
In your younger days you may have thought…wooooo, we get an extra hour of sleep. However, if you’ve now got young people running around, particularly early risers, then the worry is they may be rising even earlier than before!
We’ll also need to think about shifting daytime naps when the clocks change too.
Got an early riser?
For my families with early risers (natural early birds who wake early but happy) this may be less than welcome, and following my advice below will probably be quite important.
(For those who wake early, but unhappy then get in touch!)
Changing my baby’s sleep schedule
Can we help our baby adjust to a new sleeping pattern of the extra hour and clock change? Of course!
So, these tips on adjusting baby sleep are for families with a child, toddler or baby on a normal routine, where their schedule is pretty ‘by the clock’. We’ll go nice and slow, using a gradual method over a few days leading up to the 27th October to help a baby or toddler adjust.
For those who plan ahead for clock change and baby sleep
1) Thursday, 23rd October 2024
Try to get them up 15 mins later than usual and pop them to bed 15 mins later. If you can also move nap times and meal times as well then this will help.
2) Friday, 25th October 2024
We move our schedules another 15 mins earlier today, as well as naps and meal times (so our whole circadian rhythm adjusts). So now we’re half an hour later getting up for the day and our bedtime routine is half an hour later too.
3) Saturday, 26th October 2024
Repeat! Another 15 min shift for our babies and toddlers today! That later bedtime routine may feel a little strange today but we’ll reap the rewards tomorrow.
4) Sunday, 27th October 2024,
Bam, with this last shift they’re on track for the new week! We’ve helped their internal clock shift.
For those who don’t like to plan!
Go with the flow, don’t stress! You either a planner or your not! They will adjust eventually. Nice bright lights in the evening to keep them awake and keep the room dark in the morning can help if they start to struggle. Try to delay breakfast for a bit (unless they’re really hungry of course!)
Note: body clocks and circadian rhythms are stubborn beasts. It may take your little one a bit longer to adjust to the clock change and that’s ok too.
Tips for the change in baby sleep times
You child’s bedtime routine becomes really important. The familiarity and pattern helps keep you on track, even with a slightly later bedtime. It will help avoid any bedtime battles as it feels familiar for your little one.
Natural light is a really powerful indicator for our bodies that it’s still time to be awake. Having all the lights on when trying to keep them awake for a little longer will help. If you’ve got access to fresh air and a place to run around, then this is great too.
This should start to self correct with the later bedtimes, but if it doesn’t use the light trick again (but the opposite – keeping it dark in the morning) and try to delay breakfast too. Light and food are both powerful indicators to our bodies that it’s time to be awake. We don’t want to reinforce waking early so try to delay this.
Clocks change again?!
So, we’ve just recovered from clocks going back, what next?! Spring forward. Here’s my helpful post to keep for tacking this change.
Daylight saving starts again with ‘spring forward’ one hour on Sunday March 30th 2025 at 01:00AM.
Just as you got used to a normal bedtime there’s always a clocks change to adjust your little one’s sleep on the agenda eh?
Get in touch!