In just under two-week’s time on the 31st March 01:00am (which falls the night you go to bed on Saturday 30th), we lose an hour’s sleep but in return we are given an hour’s extra light in the evening! Spring is most definitely in the air and Summer will be just around the corner (but PLEASE less heatwave this year!)
In terms of sleep for your little one this will mean they will be going to bed when it is light outside and the mornings too will be super light in another month or so down the line which can cause early rising. A vital part of sleep training which I cannot stress enough is the importance of a dark bedroom environment. This will be somewhat compromised once the clocks change especially for toddlers and older children who have been used to going to bed when it is actually dark outside. Keeping the bedroom dark for naps and night time ‘sets’ the internal body clock and helps regulate our sleep-wake rhythm. As darkness and light set the body clock it gives children (and us!) the ‘hormonal imperative’ to sleep. In simple terms, darkness helps trigger the release of melatonin -our sleep hormone and will suppress cortisol- our awake hormone, helping to regulate our body clock.
The first thing to say if you are worried about the upcoming clock change is, don’t be! It is a one-hour difference and even if you adjust your baby or toddler post clock change it is unlikely to pose a massive problem to ongoing sleep. If you currently have a more relaxed routine for your child and their naps, feeds and bedtime are not set to as schedule then the clock change won’t make a big difference overall and preparation for the change is not strictly necessary. For babies on a schedule it would be best to start your adjustment a few days before the clock change.
These are the steps to follow…
Tips Moving Forward...
As I mentioned, the light evenings may cause some bedtime resistance in children and confusion for babies as it will still be light outside. So, if you were thinking of getting a blackout blind now would most definitely be the time! The type of darkness we are after for a baby is pitch black (99%) for them to keep producing melatonin sufficiently. If your child is 2yrs or over I always suggest a red night light to alleviate any anxiety surrounding the dark. Red light doesn’t inhibit natural melatonin production as white, blue, yellow etc. lights do.
During and after the clock change keep your bedtime routine super water-tight and make sure your baby or toddler is in lower lighting from around 6pm to have a smooth bedtime transition. Try not to compensate due to your knowledge that the clocks have changed if you are faced with some residual bedtime resistance post clock change. Keep to your timings and everything else will follow suit shortly. Consistency is key!