Daylight savings and baby sleep! If it’s not one thing with your baby’s sleep it’s 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.
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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.
The impact of daylight savings 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.
Spring forward. Daylight savings and baby sleep.
Daylight saving time begins on Sunday March 31st 2023 in Europe and the clocks spring forward one hour at 1:00AM.
We lose an hour of sleep. So, you’ll wake 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 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.
For those who plan ahead
1) Thursday, 28th March 2024
Wake them up 15 mins earlier than usual and pop them to bed 15 mins earlier. If you can also move nap times and meal times as well then this will help.
2) Friday, 29th March 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 earlier getting up for the day and our bedtime routine is half an hour earlier too.
3) Saturday, 30th March 2024
Repeat! Another 15 min 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 and that’s ok too.
Clocks change again?!
So, we’ve just recovered from daylight savings time, what next?!
Daylight saving ends with ‘fall back’ on Sunday October 27th 2024 at 02:00AM. 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!
Whilst you’re here, why don’t you check out my post on how much sleep little one’s need?