Adjusting to and from daylight saving time

Newborn babies are usually not affected by the start or finish of Daylight Saving. However, older babies and children can be affected for a week or two and you may have an overtired little one on your hands as a result. It's the combination of a change to their body clock and also that they find it harder to fall asleep when it's still light outside!

In this article we will look at:

  • Preparation & Routine
  • Checklists to help adjust to and from daylight saving time
  • Ways to assist your little one adjust to lighter evenings or mornings
  • Blackout blinds, white noise & sleep trainer clocks 
  • Links to additional support & related guides


The benefit of routine:

The transition at the start and finish of daylight saving is far easier if your baby is in a routine. You can make gradual changes to their routine, and the transition will be much easier.

If your baby or toddler isn’t in a routine, there is still time to get organized. At the very least have a consistent bedtime for the next few days, so you can follow the advice below.

If you would like to establish your baby or toddler in a routine before the start of Daylight Savings, we can assist you with this on our Sleep Support Groups. 

 

Preparation is the key!

Rather than deal with the effects of daylight savings on Sunday and the following week or two, you can be proactive in resetting your little one’s body clock. See either the Start or End of Daylight Daving, below:

 

Be consistent:

While your little one is getting used to the new time, stick to your usual bedtime rules and behaviors. For example, if your toddler usually can go to sleep by himself, avoid lying down with him or letting him sleep in your bed. A week of different bedtime routine while adjusting to Daylight Saving could be long enough to build a new habit, which you then need to deal with.

 

Blackout Blinds:

If your child is sensitive to light or you find they are so used to sleeping 'when it's dark', then investing in a blackout blind will make the change to daylight savings go much easier.

When the clocks go back in Autumn, bedrooms will be much lighter in the morning...which means children will often think it's time to get up at 6am rather than their usual 7am.

We recommend the excellent Lights Out Blinds, as they suction onto your window in just one place and you can easily attach them to your bedroom window or take them off when not needed.

Also wonderful are the gro Anywhere Blackout Blind as you can easily attach them to your bedroom window or take them off when not needed. They are excellent for spring and summer in the evening, and then again in autumn when the change back to regular time means light early mornings.

 

Sleep Trainer Clock with Toddler

 

Sleep Trainer Clocks

Another helpful tool at this time is a Sleep Trainer Clock. The simple visual cue of the sun coming up on the Gro clock means your child can easily see if it is wake up time or not.

Children often find the Daylight Savings changes confusing, as they are used to relying on cues such as whether it is light or not. In particular, the lighter mornings in autumn can mean children are up with the birds and think its get up time since its light outside. The clock shows it is still 'night time' until the time you have set.

A sleep trainer clock can also help parents to be consistent, asking their child 'does the clock say it's morning?' is easier than always having to tell them to go back to bed yourself.

There are a few different types of sleep trainer clock on the market. We choose a selected few because of their reliability, quality and positive feedback from our customers. We highly recommend the gro clock if you are considering a Sleep Trainer Clock. To view our comparison chart and buying guide tap here.

 

White Noise Machines

 

White Noise

Use can also use white noise on repeat to ensure any inside or outside noises are disguised and that there is a clear sleep cue that tells your child it is still sleep time

White noise is a continual 'Ssshhhhh' noise. Often recommended for use with newborns to help them settle, white noise can also be used with older children and even their parents too. If your little one is waking because outside noises are waking them, or being kept awake by other noises around the house when it's time for bed (think noisy siblings, TV through the walls etc) white noise can help to mask those sounds. You can create white noise by leaving a radio untuned on static, alternatively invest in a dedicated white noise machine such as the Marpac Hushh or Dohm. To find out more click or tap here.

 

 


The start of Daylight Saving Time

Assuming you have a 7pm bedtime:


Day

Routine during the day

Bedtime

 Wednesday

Usual sleep & feed times  

7.00pm

 Thursday

Sleep & feed times 15 mins earlier, eg first feed at 6.45am not 7am.

6.45pm 

 Friday

Sleep & feed times 30 mins earlier, eg first feed at 6.30am not 7am.

6.30pm

 Saturday

Sleep & feed times 45 mins earlier, eg first feed at 6.15am not 7am.

6.15pm

 Sunday

Wake your child at 7am (new time), then back to your usual routine for sleeps & feeds

7.00pm (new time)

 

  • Change your clocks on Saturday evening before you go to bed.
  • Remember to check your smoke alarms at the same time.

 

After the start of Daylight Saving Time:

If you are reading this after the start of daylight saving, you can still help your little one reset their body clock.

If their usual bedtime is 7pm, they will now actually be going to bed at 8pm. If your child is struggling to go to sleep at 7pm, put them to bed tonight at 7.45pm. Tomorrow night put them to bed at 7.30pm, and the following night at 7.15pm. From then on they should have adjusted to bedtime at the new daylight savings 7pm.

 

Going to bed when it’s light

This can be a problem with toddlers and older children, who may argue that it’s still light outside, and therefore not bedtime. The lighter evenings may also temporarily affect some babies if they are sensitive to sleeping in the light.

You may want to attach an extra layer to your curtains or stick something over their windows for a week or so until their body clock adjusts and they feel like going to bed at the new time.  See Blackout Blinds above if this is an issue for your child.

 


Adjusting to the end of Daylight Saving Time

While most of us love the start of daylight savings, the end of daylight saving can seem depressing! By moving the clocks back an hour, all of a sudden seems like summer is nearly finished for another year, boo hoo.

The other main downside to the clock’s going back is another interference to your children's sleep and bedtime. Although adults and older children can usually quickly adapt to a new wake up and sleep time, especially if they are already a little sleep deprived, it can be more difficult for younger children.

After moving the clocks back an hour, children who were used to going to bed 7pm are likely to be ready to go to bed at 6 pm. While that may be okay, they may then be likely to wake up at 6am – which may not be OK!!

And as above, the lighter mornings can be very confusing for younger children, who associate the sun coming up with time to get up. Using blackout blinds to keep the room dark and a gro clock to be clear about get up time make a huge difference to this tricky transition.

So again, be proactive and prepare for the clocks going back. This should minimise the interference to your baby's sleep and help them adjust much quicker.

 

Assuming a 7pm bedtime:


Day

Routine during the day

Bedtime

 Wednesday

Usual sleep & feed times  

7.00pm

 Thursday

Sleep & feed times 15 mins later, (eg first feed at 7.15am not 7am).

7.15pm

 Friday

Sleep & feed times 30 mins later (eg first feed at 7.30am not 7am).

7.30pm

 Saturday

Sleep& feed times 45 mins later (eg first feed at 7.45am not 7am).

7.45pm

 Sunday

Wake your child at 7am (new time), then your usual routine times for feeds & sleeps.

7.00pm (new time)

 

  • If your baby or toddler wants to sleep in a bit later (after you start adjusting their bedtime, then allow this.
  • Try and adjust the routine from the first feed of the day by 15 mins each day. if your baby can't last first thing in the morning,justtry to make the routine adjustments as the day goes on.
  • Put your clock back on Saturday night before you go to bed.
  • Check your smoke alarms at the same times.