Sleep Tips


02:00am Sunday 27th October: Falling back

Your child’s internal clock won’t ‘fall back’ and change along with your household clocks – our internal clock (circadian rhythm) is a major factor in determining our sleep patterns. If it’s knocked off e.g. a holiday in a different time zone, or when the clocks change, then our sleep is of course disrupted.

We recommend 3 options to help ease your child into the new ‘time zone’:

Option 1: Do nothing

If your child is sleeping well and is adaptable to change then she will probably just have a few “off” days sleep-wise after the time change. This option also works well if your child is waking an hour later than you’d like, as the time change will effectively bump their routine back by an hour. If, however, your child is waking too early in the morning then you will need to take action to avoid a 4 or 5am wake up (see options 2 and 3).

Option 2: Split the difference

Some parents prefer to avoid any kind of out-of-routine drama like irritability or overtiredness. It also works for those families who can’t let the time change move their routines by a whole hour and also know that sticking to the old routine just won’t work. So they ‘split the difference’ and shift the routine forward by 30mins before the time change. For example, if the child’s wake up time is 6.30am then move her routine (wake-up, meals, naps, and bedtime) forward by 10-15 minutes every few days until she is waking up 30mins later than usual at 7am. After the time change, she’ll probably wake at 6am, but you can spend a week or so working towards a 6.30am wake up time again. Waking 30mins too early is a small problem and it will be easy to get back to your normal times without issue.

Option 3: Adjust their routine forward

If your child is sleeping well and is not adaptable then moving his routine (wake-up, meals, naps, and bedtime) forward by 10-15 minutes every day or two until he is waking up an hour later than usual will prevent the time change from destroying your family’s sleep. For example, if you want to keep a 6am wake up time, then for a week or so before the change, work towards your child waking up at 7am (shift everything else ahead too); the day after the time change he will be waking up around 6am again.

Tips to manage “falling back”

  • The clocks go back in the early hours of Sunday morning. During the day before, allow your child to have an energetic day that includes lots of fresh air and exercise.
  • Parents should go to bed early and one of you be prepared to get up if your child is ready to start the day at 6am instead of 7am.
  • Don’t force your child to stay in their cot/bed if they have had their usual amount of sleep and are looking wide awake. You will be fighting a losing battle!

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