Adjusting for daylight savings and baby sleep (British Summer Time). What to know in March 2024

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Events, Flexibility, Improving sleep, Top tips

Daylight savings and baby sleep! If it’s not one thing with your baby’s sleep the clock change makes it another!

Sunday, March 31st 2024 in Europe (slightly earlier on 10th March in the US). Our clocks go FORWARD (spring forward) an hour. Daylight savings is also called British Summer Time (BST).

Essentially, the daylight saving time change means we’ll have more daylight in the evening and less in the mornings.

Why did daylight saving time start?

Daylight savings are controversial! Love it or hate it, the main point for British Summer Time is that it enables us to make the most of the summer daylight hours, helpful for professionals working outside.

The impact of daylight savings/British Summer Time and 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.

daylight savings and baby sleep

Spring forward. Daylight savings and baby sleep.

Daylight saving time (British summer time) begins on Sunday, March 31st 2023 in Europe and the clocks spring forward one hour at 1:00 am.

We lose an hour of sleep. So, you’ll wake up later and fall asleep later than usual.

Got an early riser?

 For my families with early risers (natural early birds who wake early but happy), this may be a nice opportunity to feel like they’re on a better schedule!

(For those who wake early, but are unhappy – get in touch!)

Changing my baby’s sleep schedule

Can we help our baby adjust to the extra hour and clock change? Of course!

So, these tips on adjusting daylight savings and 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 DST to help a baby or toddler adjust.

british summer time and baby sleep

Managing the Clock Change: for those who like to plan ahead

1) Thursday, 28th March 2024

Wake them up 15 minutes earlier than usual and pop them to bed 15 minutes earlier. If you can also move nap times and meal times as well then this will help.

2) Friday, 29th March 2024

We will move our schedules another 15 minutes earlier today, as well as naps and meal times (so our whole circadian rhythm adjusts). So now we’re half an hour earlier getting up for the day and our bedtime routine is half an hour earlier too. 

3) Saturday, 30th March 2024

Repeat! Another 15 minute shift for our babies and toddlers today! That earlier bedtime routine may feel a little strange today but we’ll reap the rewards tomorrow. 

4) Sunday, 31st March 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!

Go with the flow, don’t stress! You are either a planner or you’re not! They will adjust eventually. Nice bright lights in the morning and keeping the room dark at night can help if they start to struggle. 

Note: body clocks and circadian rhythms are stubborn beasts. It may take your little one a bit longer to adjust to daylight savings/British Summer Time, and that’s ok too.

Clocks change again?!

So, we’ve just recovered from daylight savings time, what next?!

British summer time ends with ‘fall back’ on Sunday, October 27th 2024 at 2 am. Just as you got used to a normal bedtime there’s always a change on the agenda eh? Here’s a guide on that to save!

Q: Will the clock change help with early morning waking?

British Summer Time will certainly help your little one if they’ve historically woken early! If your little one is getting enough sleep (waking early – BUT happy) then continue to keep their current schedule. Bedtime will be later and so will the morning rise.

However, sometimes schedules can shift back. Plus in Spring/Summer, we’ve got other environmental factors to consider, like the lighter brighter mornings and noises creeping in.

If the clock change doesn’t help with early mornings then you may want to consider taking my Early Morning Rising Masterclass.

clock change

Whilst you’re here, why don’t you check out my post on how much sleep little ones need?

Still need some help?

I can help establish good sleep bedtime habits and provide tips on how to cope with inevitable nighttime disruptions. I offer tried-and-tested sleep training solutions that are well worth the investment for your whole family.

Have a look at my sleep consultant packages or directly get in touch.

Good luck!

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Hi, I’m Gemma, your sleep consultant

I am a certified baby and child sleep specialist who works with families all over the world.

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