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Daylight Savings - falling back an hour

Updated: Mar 22

Daylight savings ending can be stressful for many and especially for those of you with early risers! There are two ways you can manage sleep through this change and this depends on your knowledge of your child, their temperament around routines and flow of their day, your family’s needs, family logistics and your parenting style. 1. Adjust before the time change: Gradually shift your child’s entire 24 hour cycle later by an hour in the days prior to the change. 2. Wait and go with the flow after the time change: Let things gradually shift over the following days. Observe your child and the way the are/are not impacted and take steps as you go. Before we delve in further, let’s start with some great news:

· Even if you do nothing to transition your littlies, they will cope with the time shift over time

· Darkness in the morning is more likely to encourage your baby to sleep later (in fact, it can be common for little ones to naturally start to sleep longer in the morning ahead of this change)

· Younger babies and older children can be less impacted by the change so I would encourage you take a more 'go with the flow approach'.

Option 1: Adjust before the time change or through the change.

If you want to transition before the change, here is one way you can approach it. The pace at which you do this will depend on your situation and also your child's sensitivity to changes in their rhythms (side note: did you know this can be linked to their temperament!?). You might find that it takes a number of days or a couple of weeks or your child’s cycle to fully change but you can keep using this method. This method is about gradually shifting your baby or child’s body clock so by the time it comes to the time change your baby will be into their normal time. For example, if they wake normally at 6am then we are aiming to get their day started at 7am so they may actually wake an hour later but it’s now 6am due to the time change.

Or you can do this through the change meaning you will end up getting to 'normal time' partly before and partly after the date things actually change.

How do we do this? Key to this transition is:

 •  Using light and darkness to encourage their body clocks to adapt when daylight savings begin

 •  Also moving everything in their day not just sleep • Don’t sweat 5 minutes here and there, this is a guide but life is life • Be patient and remember we can all be a little out of kilter with the time change for a few weeks • We are giving your child the best shot at sleeping longer than they would in the morning by shifting everything in their whole day but it doesn't always work quickly so please don't stress if this isn't working out for you. You can take the same exact approach but do it over a number of days or use this approach after the time change has happened to keep helping your child adjust.


Wake Up & Morning:

· Support your child to stay in the room where sleep happens room about 15 minutes past their usual wake up time

· Keep the room as dark as you can

· You can be in the room or hold your child or be with them in any way you wish as we want your little one to be calm

· If your child is used to feeding straight away, see if you can delay this a little but if they will tolerate that but again, the focus is on calm so no stress.

· Exposure to morning daylight is great when you're up.


· Everything shifts in the day by 15 minutes later including meals as relevant

· Exposure to late afternoon sun/daylight where possible


· Bedtime is about 15 minutes later than normal


Wake Up & Morning:

· Support your child to stay in the room where sleep happens room for 30 minutes past their normal wake up time and delay the feed longer if you can (just do your best but if this is causing too much upset or your child is due a feed, please don’t stress)

Day: · Push everything out by 30 minutes compared to normal time.


· Bedtime is 30 minutes later than you normally would


Wake Up and Morning:

· Now we are aiming to see if can keep in the dark longer however if your child is waking the same time as they normally do and therefore it’s quite early, it may be unrealistic to keep them in their dark space for 45 minutes. Some children might sleep longer with the later bedtime but it’s common for this to take time. The feedback here is to do your best to keep in the darkness for what feels possible but we don’t want an upset or stressed start to the day. You might find your wake up time isn't too far changed but you can add a bit of time awake ahead of naps through the day to keep pushing bedtime out.

Day: · Push everything by 45 minutes compared to what was normal

· This might mean stretching them along through their time awake throughout the whole day or where you find it the easiest time of day to stretch them out.

Bedtime: · Bedtime is now 45 minutes later than you normally would have had it.


Wake Up and Morning: · If this this is the day the time changes so everything depends on what time they are waking naturally at this point.

· If you have moved the 24-hour rhythms by 1 hour then you will be back to the normal time things were before you made any changes. Eg, if wake up time was 6am and you got to 7am, now with the change, you're back at 6am.

· If daylight savings time changes before you get to the full hour, continue with this process until you get back to the normal or preferred time.

· Your goal is that they move out of their dark space as close as possible to their normal waking time but recognising that this can take time and you don’t want to make things stressful if things need more time to adjust


· Base everything in their day on the new time like it was their previous routine. For example, if lunch was 12:30pm before the time change and you pushed to 1:30pm before the time change, now you’re adjusted back to 12:30pm


· The goal is that your child is going to bed at the normal time they did before the change as you have pushed their whole bedtime out before the change

· And again, some children will shift fast and others will need time and patience.

Option 2: Wait until the change happens and go with the flow

It’s a completely valid option to just see how things go and adapt as you go with your child after the change.

Got questions? Feel free to join the Nurture & Thrive Sleep Village. A no-strings attached Facebook group for parents who value evidence-based, gentle and holistic approaches to sleep and parenting. Join here: 

Always love,

Annie x

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