Twice a year we encounter the task of adjusting our baby’s sleep routine due to the one-hour clock change. While Daylight Savings provides the welcome change extra daylight in the evening, the shift in clocks can lead to disruption in baby’s sleep. As the UK’s clock change on March 31st draws near, careful planning and gentle adjustments can assist your little one in seamlessly adapting to the new schedule. Today we’ll explore practical tips and strategies to navigate the daylight saving time transition while ensuring your baby continues to get the rest they need.

The Sync With The Clock-Change Approach

In this approach, you can jump forward by an hour on the night of the clock change. Many children and babies may adapt to this seamlessly, whilst others may protest for a few nights before settling into the change. While this is not the method I usually recommend, it works for some people by minimising disruption and quickly aligning with the new time schedule. If it works for you and your little one, then this is certainly a straightforward approach that you can use!

The Gradual Approach

For children and babies who may struggle with the jump forward in time, I recommend this approach. By gradually adjusting bedtime and waking times by 15 minutes each night in the week preceding the clock change, we can help our little ones acclimate to the new schedule more smoothly. The gradual approach recognises that our bodies operate on internal clocks known as circadian rhythms, which govern our sleep-wake cycles. Where abrupt changes can disrupt these rhythms, gradual adjustments in sleep time may help mitigate this.

Exemplar Gradual Approach Sleep Schedule For Daylight Savings

If your baby’s bedtime is 7pm you would follow this schedule:

  1. 27.03.2024: Move up your baby’s bedtime to 6:45 p.m.
  2. 28.03.2024: Bedtime at 6:30 p.m.
  3. 29.03.2024: Bedtime at 6:15 p.m.
  4. 30.03.2024: Bedtime at 6:00 p.m.
  5. 31.03.2024: Clock Change takes place.

Remember each night that bedtime moves earlier, wake-time and nap times should also move 15 minutes earlier in accordance. Alternatively, you could begin at an earlier date and move bedtime forward by 5-10 minutes each night.

Additional Sleep Tips

In addition to following the best approach for your baby, these tips can help to provide a smooth transition through the clock change. Firstly, a regular and consistent bedtime routine is key. Doing this will signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Bedtime routines can include but or not limited to a bath, massage, bedtime story or more. Secondly, consider sleep hygiene, having a dark and quiet room will help your baby sleep. Darkness signals to your baby’s brain that it’s time to sleep by triggering the release of the hormone melatonin. Therefore dimming the lights during the hour or half-an-hour before bed can help your baby to begin preparing for sleep. It’s also important to block out external sources of light during bedtime and naptime. Keep prioritising gradual adjustments and implementing healthy sleep hygiene practices, and your baby should smoothly adapt to the time change.

See Previous Blog: World Sleep: The Importance of Sleep