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Daylight saving time - how can we manage this with minimal disruption to routine?

Clocks go forward on the last Sunday of every March and backwards on the last Sunday of every October.

Nearing a clock change, especially for those who have their little ones in a gentle but predictable routine for sleep, can seem daunting. You’ve put in the hard work of establishing a routine, and just as things are on point, the clocks spring forward or backwards un-doing all that hard work!

The good news is, there are some simple solutions, which you can implement to ease the transition and help the process to make up for that hour gained or lost!

I have included some top tips here, which will help in the transition of that change in time and dreaded ‘’jet-lag’’ effect!

Make a gradual change

I’d suggest a week or so before the change in time, a slow shift in routine is a great course of action. There are a few ways you can do this based around whatever works best for your family. You can shift bedtime either backwards or forwards (depending on clocks going backwards or forwards) by either 15 minutes every 2 nights or 30 minutes every 3 nights. Don’t forget to move all meal and nap times by the same amount throughout the day too.

This means that by the time the clocks change, they should be well into their new routine.

Maintain the routines you have…

whilst adjusting time accordingly.If you follow a bedtime routine (e.g., bath, story, milk, bed), stick to the pattern, and implement it with your time changes as it will signal the time for bed.

This is the same for your morning routine. Try letting natural light in and gently waking your little one slightly earlier or later depending on the clocks going backwards or forwards.

Bedtime routine tips!

Winding down for bed is a key part of a bedtime routine. Here are some suggestions that might help you settle them down.

Why not introduce a sleep-inducing bedtime snack? For example, bananas contain magnesium, which is a relaxant, as well as tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin (a natural sedative) which is a precursor to melatonin production. Milk also contains tryptophan - so why not go in for the win and try mixing the two together with some whole grains? Complex carbohydrate-rich and sleep inducing!

There are many fantastic sources available that help to calm a little one at sleep time. For younger babies and toddlers, try a baby sleep meditation or white noise. For older children, guided meditations or relaxation and breathing exercises can also be very very beneficial.

Not forgetting screen times - screens produce blue light which delays you from switching off as well as dampening natural melatonin production. I always advise that screen time should end at least an hour before bedtime.

Keep the room DARK!

Darkened rooms encourage natural melatonin production in the evening (the magic sleep hormone!).

It’s important in the time changes where bedtimes become light during those summer nights and mornings, that rooms remain dark. You can use blackout blinds among several window coverings available on the market. A cost-effective tip of mine is to stick aluminium foil or cardboard over the inside of the window to completely stop light entering the room.

Get those little ones tired out!

This really helps when the clocks go back, and you are planning on an earlier bedtime. It does help if they are tired out and ready to switch off and re-energise for their next day of adventures! Lots of fresh air, physical excercise and daylight exposure really helps.

Remember that your little one will adjust to a new routine quite quickly, typically within a few days, so don’t panic if you've left it too late to start gradually shifting bedtime, just go with it and things will soon even out.

If you would like further sleep support then please don't hesitate to get in touch, either by filling in my website contact form, or emailing

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