It is always the question on every mama’s lips when you first realise Daylight Savings is about to begin or end – how will it affect my little one’s sleep? Will they suddenly start waking at 5am? Will they be cranky all day? Well the answer could quite possible be yes but resolving this is much easier than you think.
Mothercraft Nurse, Chris Minogue explains that the solution for getting your little one back on track requires a simple adjustment to their day sleep – and it won’t take all week to do so!
We filmed a little video for you.
What affect does Daylight Savings have on sleep?
With any change in time to your child’s day i.e daylight savings or travelling, it is going to throw out their routine. In the case of Daylight Saving, by putting the clock back an hour, it is going to make it much harder for your little one to last the day on the same sleep that they would typically have.
This comes down to their developmental ‘awake times’, meaning the amount of time that they are able to stay awake in one window at a time. For example, if you put them down for sleep outside this ideal awake window, you will have an overtired or under-tired baby, making it much harder to settle them for sleep.
Additionally if you do try and stretch them out, chances are they will fall asleep at a random time, which will throw out bedtime i.e an hour or two before their usual bedtime which may result in a 5am wake up – and nobody has time for that!
How can I prepare my baby or toddler for Daylight Savings ending?
You will see a lot of strategies out there on how to slowly adjust your little one over the course of a few days or week – but you don’t really need to do this at all!
The idea behind these sleep strategies (and correctly so) is that you are aiming to get your baby back to their regular time for sleep. But doing this doesn’t need to take a full week as Chris Minogue explains in the video.
Chris suggests that on the day you wake up after the clocks have changed – the aim is to get back to your regular time for their night sleep, which is usually around 7/7:30pm. Since the clock is being turned back, this means your little one has an extra hour thrown into their day and will likely fall asleep at an irregular time i.e 5pm – the danger nap!
To adjust your little one’s day sleep, it will be different according to their age but as an example:
A baby on two day sleeps
They will need an extra little catnap towards the end of the day. For a baby with an ‘awake window’ between 2-3 hours, this may mean a 20 minute nap around 4pm. You will need to wake them up after 20 minutes so they don’t oversleep, but this will be enough to tie them over and will ensure there is still sufficient time between their catnap and their usual bedtime.
A toddler on one day sleep
This is where you would try to stretch them out either side of their day nap. So push their day nap back by half an hour and then wake them up slightly earlier, so that there is a sufficient gap between their time of waking and their usual bedtime.
A 3-4 year old with no sleep
These guys are going to find it really hard to stay awake that long, so this is where you can sneak in a little catnap for them as well. Why not pop them in the car for a little drive to get a 20 minute catnap, which will then tie them through to their usual bedtime.
Where do I find my baby’s Daily Rhythm or ideal ‘awake’ times.
If you are not familiar with our iOS App already, it is free to Download from the App Store and has a section which will display your little one’s Daily Rhythm. They are really simple to follow and ensure you are across how many feeds, meals or sleeps they will require based on their development stage + an indication of their ideal awake window. This will ensure you can feel confident that they are getting what they need and it also really helps to get back on track when things go pear-shaped – because ‘life’ happens as we know.
So there you have it. Will one simple change to your baby or toddler’s day sleep on the first day of Daylight Savings ending (or beginning), you will be back on track with your little one’s routine.
This is a sure way to discover just how important getting day sleeps right are for your little one’s overall sleep patterns.
We hope this helps!
Emmy & Chris xx