The gorgeous yellow daffodils are popping out and the weather is (slightly!) warmer which can only mean one thing…spring is around the corner and the clock change (going forward) is almost upon us!
When it comes to the clocks changing to British Summer Time (BST), here at Sleepytime Sleep we think that this is the better of the two clock changes. Even more so if you have an early riser, as this acts as a bit of a reset for them, even if just for a few days. But as time goes on, the mornings will get brighter and brighter as the sun starts to rise earlier. This being said, the sunshine is an easy one to combat with some good quality blackout blinds, or even some tin foil or cardboard on the window!
So here are our top tips for how to approach the clocks going forward:
- Decide if you need a plan
If your child is easy going and doesn’t appear to be too sensitive to sleep changes, then you can easily just go with the flow and let them naturally settle into the new time, letting their circadian rhythm do the job. Our circadian rhythm is controlled by darkness and light so plenty of outdoor time will be essential.
- If you do need a plan- THE GRADUAL “BEFORE” PLAN
Over the course of the week preceding the clocks changing, you can start steadily shifting your child’s schedule earlier by 15 minutes every 3 days in preparation.
Example: Normal Naptime at 9am would now be at 845am, 3 days later 830am and so on….by end of the week this means if bedtime is normally 7pm it will now be around 6pm until the clocks spring forward (and it becomes 7pm again and you’re all set to go!)
This is a really good approach for the very sensitive sleepers such as younger babies, who may nap a lot, where a few minutes can really make a big difference.
- If you do need a plan- THE GRADUAL “AFTER” PLAN
The same principle applies. So you’d slowly adjust your child back to their routine over the course of a week or so. Put your child down for their nap 15 mins earlier every 3 days and your child will soon be adjusted to their usual schedule.
Example: For the first nap of the day, your child would go down at 9:45am instead of 10am (if their nap usually starts at 9am pre clocks changing) and so on every few days.
If you’ve been feeling a little anxious about the time changes, please try not to worry. No matter what happens, your child will always eventually adjust.
- If you do need a plan- THE “MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE” PLAN
This simply means you meet in the middle with the clock change e.g. if bedtime is usually 7PM and the clocks are changing that night when the child is sleeping, do bedtime at 6.30PM (not a whole hour at 6PM). This means you are only adjusting by half an hour rather than a whole hour which can feel much more manageable for some people.
Put simply, go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
This approach is really well suited to toddlers or young children who are napping once a day or may have even dropped the nap.
- Help! It didn’t work!
So what do you do if they go to bed earlier and they just lay there and don’t fall asleep? Well, don’t panic! You tried your best. See how long they sleep that night and adjust it again the next day, starting with the BST time and see if you can get them to bed a little earlier. The key here is you are giving the brain and body all the right signs that it’s sleep time and it can just take some adjusting too.