5 Tips For Coping With Bedtime When The Clocks Change
The clocks are set to go back an hour on the 29th of October at 2 a.m., so how will this affect your child's sleep routine? Our eumom sleep expert, Fiona O'Farrell gives her advice.
The good news is: It is much easier to adjust to the winter clock change than to adjust for the spring clock change!
On the run up to the clocks changing, I would advise:
1. Keep Up the Bedtime Routine
Babies and all children respond very positively to calming bedtime routines. If you haven’t started one with your child, I would suggest you start now. It is a great way for your child to unwind and prepare for sleep and is also a great opportunity for spending quality time with your child. Try gentle massage, a soothing bath, and a calming story. Follow your child’s cues for when they are getting tired, not overtired. These are the best ways to prepare for the clock change, to ensure your child continues to sleep throughout the night without early morning waking.
2. Move Bedtime
One week before the clocks change, start to move your child’s bedtime slightly later by 5 or 10 minutes each night until the clock changes. This will help your child readjust their sleeping pattern to the new time without becoming overtired in the evening. So if your child traditionally goes to bed at 7 o’clock, you will start by putting your child to bed at 7.05/7.10pm. The next night, 7.15/7.20pm.
3. Outdoor Play
Ensure your child spends some time outdoors in the afternoon, engaging in physical activity. It is getting colder, so make sure to wrap your child up in appropriate outdoor gear. Encouraging your child to play outdoors will benefit their physical development as well as being great for their sleep. Those little muscles will be naturally tired from all that outdoor play, making sleep much easier.
4. Limited Technology Use
Limit technology uses in the evenings. On cold days, be mindful of the temptation to let your child watch endless hours of television or play with technology. This will have an adverse effect on sleeping patterns. Television and other forms of technology can result in an over stimulating effect on your child’s brain, resulting in difficulty for your child's brain to relax enough to drift over to sleep. The use of technology prior bedtime also inhibits the release of melatonin – the sleep-inducing hormone.
5. Allow Time To Readjust
Once the clock does change, there may be a few days of readjusting for your child. But be reassured, if you incorporate all of this advice around encouraging outdoor play, incorporating naps as per age appropriate, limiting screen time and keeping a bedtime routine consistent, your child will transition to the new changes naturally.