Clocks going back: How to adjust your baby’s sleep.

At the end of October, in the UK, the clocks will ‘fall’ back an hour (remember, they ‘spring’ forward in the springtime). Before I had kids, I think this was one of my favourite times of the year. It meant a glorious extra hour in bed. Alas, this no longer applies.

Unfortunately, with this clock change it can be particularly tricky for babies and children who wake very early. Those who start the day at 6am may well seem ready to start the day at 5am. Although the clocks on our phones will automatically change to the new time, it can take our internal body clocks a little longer to catch up.

Things we can do to prepare for the clock change:

1) Push your little one’s entire schedule a little later each day ahead of the change (if they go to bed at 7pm, push it to 7.15pm on the first day, 7.30pm on the second day, and 7.45pm on the third day, and by the day of the clock change they will be up to speed on the new time). Remember to change your baby’s entire routine too (nap times, feeds, meals etc) 
This is a good technique if your child is on a fairly strict schedule or sensitive to overtiredness. 
2) You can put your little one to bed half an hour later on the night before the clock change. With toddlers and older children do bear in mind this may not ensure a later wake up time. However, it is a good start to prepare their bodies for the incoming time change. 
3) You can do nothing at all. The morning of the clock change you switch everything to the new time. This is good for those on a fairly loose schedule (or if tweaking a routine seems too complicated). 

We all take a bit of time to adjust to the clock change, but there are things we can do to help our internal body clocks to catch up:

1) Get lots of fresh air and natural light.
2) Eat at new times
3) Black out those bedrooms! (it will become lighter in the morning).
4) Reduce screen time before bed 
5) Continue with a predictable and relaxing bedtime routine

Amongst of all this it is also really important to look after yourself. Make sure you go to bed earlier than usual to prepare for the possibility that your little one might wake quite early while they are adjusting to the ‘new time.’ Try to remember that the effects of the clock change will be short-lived – within a week or so everyone should be back to normal. 

Want more support with your child’s sleep?

If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a predictable routine and well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online courses.

These are designed to teach you all about how your child sleeps and to provide practical suggestions for settling techniques and routines to work towards.

If you would prefer to speak with one of our consultants for a personalised plan you can find out more about our 1:1 packages here.

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