Even when the clocks only change by one hour, this can really upset a baby’s circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle) leading to possible bedtime struggles.
So, I have put together a few tips to help you to prepare your little one to cope with bedtime when the clocks change.
Tip 1 – Adjusting bedtimes
7 days before the clocks change, gradually start to adjust your little one’s bedtime. Bring it forward by 10 – 15 minutes every day when the clocks go back in Autumn (delay bedtime by 10 – 15 minutes when the clocks go forward in Spring). This way, by the time the clocks do change, your little one will already have adjusted to the new bedtime.
You’ll also need to adjust nap and feed times to fit in with this new schedule.
Tip 2 – Too much energy? Fresh air and exercise…
If your little one is particularly active and has bundles of energy, you may want to make sure they have plenty of fresh air, or increase their exercise slightly to burn off that energy. Just make sure it isn’t within 1 hour of bedtime as they need to be winding down and relaxing during this time to encourage sleep.
Tip 3 – Diet
Foods that are high in tryptophan produce chemicals in the brain that encourage calmness and sleepiness, so a bedtime snack such as banana, warm milk or oats can actually help your baby to sleep.
Tip 4 – Environment
Keep your little one’s room darker than usual so they don’t notice the change in light outside. If you don’t already have one, a blackout blind could be a great investment! Your baby’s room should be a comfortable temperature of around 16 – 20c and noise should be kept to a minimum. If your little one is afraid of the dark, use a nightlight to make them feel more comfortable.
Tip 5 – Routine
Whatever your normal bedtime routine…stick to it. Keep the lead up to bedtime calm, consistent and familiar. If your usual routine is bath time then a story before sleep, continue to do this, you may just need to adjust your routine too.
Tip 6 – Body Clock
Allow your little one to get plenty of sunshine in the morning to help their body clock to reset. This doesn’t necessarily mean going outside, if it’s too cold, just make sure the curtains are open and there is plenty of sunlight coming into your home.
Tip 7 – Patience and Consistency
Your baby may not adjust quickly and easily so try to be patient and take your time to stay calm and consistent.