Top tips for the clocks going back
It’s completely normal for parents to be concerned about the effect the clocks going back will have on their little one’s sleeping pattern, and rightly so, as disruption is likely. I have put together some helpful tips to alleviate your concerns, with some top tips for the clocks going back.
1. Consider adjusting your bedtime later by 15 minutes on the Thursday before the clocks go back.
2. On Saturday night, head to bed 45 minutes later than you normally do
3. Reduce your caffeine intake this week from around 1.30-2pm each day to help with your earlier bedtime
4. This weekend, try to avoid alcohol which can wreak havoc on your sleep
5. Set your alarm for a regular wake time no later than 07:30am-new time so that you can make room for bedtime and keep your body regulated.
For your baby:
1. Do your best to prepare your baby for this transition by ensuring that they are well rested in the run up to the weekend. Pay specific attention to day time sleep and fill this need as much as possible
2. Make sure that you have blackout blinds and a sleep friendly environment to help with going to sleep and to avoid unnecessary early rising
3. Consider moving your child’s schedule later by 15 minutes every day from the Wednesday before the time change. Adjust meals and naps times and of course their morning wake-time accordingly so that by Sunday you will already be on the new time on the clock!
4. If you prefer, do nothing until the day of the change, make sure you wake your baby by 07:30am-new time and then follow your daily routine, addressing meals, naps and bedtime as you always do. This means that your baby is potentially going to bed one hour later than normal, they may struggle as their inner-clock may resist this and they may be slightly overtired, but within 3-7 days their system will adjust and your regular timetable will run just fine
5. If you are concerned that your baby won’t tolerate being very over tired by the stretch of 1 hour, then split the difference by 30m and prepare for bed half way between the old time and the new time with a view to being back on track within the week
6. Treat any disruptions with consistency so that you don’t create any long term sleep difficulties during this transition.
About the author
Lucy Wolfe is Paediatric sleep consultant and mum of four at Sleep Matters-Help Your Child Sleep; a private sleep consulting practice, based in Cork, where she enjoys providing knowledge, expertise and valuable support with tailored sleep plans to families across the country and over-seas, without using cry intensive methods. Author of The Baby Sleep Solution. www.sleepmatters.ie
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