When the clocks go back on Sunday 30th October at 2am, let’s make sure your extra hour in bed isn’t merely a dream…
Typically, when the seasons change, your little one is likely to have their sleep cycle affected as they try to adjust to daylight saving time.
That means they can wake up even earlier than planned or shed a few tears throughout the day from a lack of sleep.
So, let’s prepare for this little shift in their sleep routine and go over the steps to ensure your little ones fall back into a happy bedtime routine.
Why does the season’s change affect baby's sleep?
Like adults, a little one’s waking time is governed by something known as the circadian rhythm, which is like an internal clock in our brains that responds to light.
So, despite the changing times on the clocks on your wall, your baby’s internal clock runs on a different time and leads to a shift in their waking pattern.
How to adjust baby sleep for the change?
Adjusting the routine
It may feel like the more obvious choice to move their bedtime back an hour to account for the time but sometimes this abrupt change can disrupt sleep patterns and hours of sleep more and still lead to early waking.
If you have some time and want a more gradual approach to adjusting their routine, it’s recommended to start a minimum of 4 days before the clocks switch over.
This method is especially beneficial for babies who are 4 months or older, little ones who are easily tired, or early risers.
For each day for 4 days or more:
- Increasing the delay for bedtime by 15 mins (max) and keep lights on later in the evening.
- Similarly, keep lights off for little while longer in the morning.
- Try to delay routine activities throughout the day by 15 minutes also, including dinner, bath time etc.
For parents who want a quick solution or have a little one that is a toddler and can sleep well, instead begin 2 days before the switch, and follow the same steps above but for 30 minutes.
You can also help promote sleep and control their cycle in creating a healthy sleep space.
A comfortable temperature of 16-20C is a must for safety, however a dark room is invaluable in getting them off to sleep.
What their space comprises of can make all the difference to their quality of sleep. That’s why investing in blackout blinds or sleep aids can also help establish a soothing sleep environment.
Little ones typically fall asleep better when their environment is familiar, so try not to change too much when daylight savings is approaching.
Focused wind down
This is likely something you’re already doing with your little one, however it’s good to really focus on their bed time routine leading up to the clocks going back (or forward for that matter!).
Sticking with the same steps every night indicates that the evening is starting to wind down and it’s time to get snugly for bedtime. A few things you can do to help them wind down and stick to a sleep schedule include:
- A warm bath for around 10 minutes, which should be relaxed and soothe as opposed to play time.
- Bath to bed rule which prevents little ones from stimulated activity or being distracted from blue light from TVs, electronic devices or smartphone screens.
- Dim any bright lights when it’s time to sleep.
- Reading stories to help them drift off.
- Playing white noise if your baby has found this useful before.
One thing you can control to ensure restful sleep when the clocks go back is what your little one wears to bed.
Throughout Autumn, the temperature starts to drop, and more layers are sometimes needed to keep a little sleeper content and to maintain body temperature to prevent them from stirring.
It means that when the temperature fluctuates throughout the night, you can rest assured they’re cocooned in the right warm environment which accommodates the season’s weather and can help improve sleep quality.
If you need some help deciding what tog sleeping bag you should choose, we’ve put together a little guide to help you understand our weighted sleeping bags, including what they mean and what room temperature they’re intended for.
A dreamy night awaits
Hopefully you’ll find that extra hour tucked up in bed was worth all this prep. Plus, you’ll have a happy little face to wake up to when morning finally arrives - what could be better?