So, the clocks are going back again. In this blog, I’m going to share with you three ways that you can navigate this clock change to minimize the disruption to your little one’s sleep. I’m also going to explain to you how you can decide which of these three ways is going to best suit your unique child.
Let’s get started. The first option for navigating the autumn clocks going back is to take the gradual shift. Now, a gradual shift means exactly what it says. We’re going to shift gradually towards the time change. We’re going to do this in 15-minute increments from the Wednesday when the clocks change on that Sunday.
When you wake up on Sunday morning, we’re on the new time. So, if the clocks are going to go back during the night on Saturday night, we need to start on Wednesday, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to just nudge the bedtime that little bit later from Wednesday night.
Let’s use a 7:00 PM bedtime as an example. If your child normally closes their eyes and drifts off to sleep at 7:00 PM, then on Wednesday, we’re going to just nudge that to 7:15 asleep time. Then on Thursday, we’re going to make it 7:30. On Friday, it will be 7:45. On Saturday night, they’re will be going to sleep at 8:00 PM, but that 8:00 PM is going to be the new 7:00 PM when the clocks change.
When they go to sleep at 8:00 PM on Saturday night, the clocks will go back one hour in the nighttime. So, they should wake at their usual time in the morning. When you go into Sunday, you start the day as normal. You have your usual routine and you use your meal times and then you go back to your normal 7:00 PM bedtime because that will feel the same as it did on Saturday night. That’s option one, your gradual shift.
Now, the second option I’m going to give you is to meet in the middle. In this example, if that time is normally 7:00 PM, we’re going to just meet halfway and we’ll go for a 7:30 PM bedtime on clock change night, which is the Saturday night. So, you just carry on as normal, 7:00 PM bedtime, and then on Saturday night, you just meet in the middle and do a 7:30 bedtime.
And the third option I’m going to give you is the one fell swoop. In one fell swoop, you just change the time. So you carry on as normal, 7:00 PM bedtime, and then on Saturday night you push it all the way to 8:00 and you actually just move it the whole way to 8:00 PM bedtime on Sunday night. That should be the same length of nighttime sleep for waking up at the usual wake up time in the morning as the clocks will have gone back an hour in the nighttime.
So those are three different strategies and three different ways that you can approach the clock’s going back.
How do you know which way to go for your child? So, these are the questions to ask yourself.
If your little one is younger, so if we’re talking about a younger baby who is still taking regular naps through the day, they’re likely to be more sensitive to the times because every sleep counts. They’re not used to going huge, long stretches. And so the sensitivity is going to be there. That would be a good reason to take the gradual shift and the 15-minute increments. Any babies that are still napping at least three naps a day, some even two naps a day, you’ll probably want to take that gradual approach.
If your little one is maybe not so much on the younger side, but they’re really sensitive, they’re very sensitive to change. Perhaps the super alert types who religiously wake up at the exact same time every morning no matter what time you put them to bed. Again, there’s a real sensitivity to time. I would again take that gradual shift with them.
But if you have a little one that is easier going, they’re really flexible. You tend to be able to bend and shift with routines without that having a major impact on them, or if they’re a bit older, then you might just get away with going for one fell swoop. And you’ll know this because you’ll know that you can keep them up for an extra hour and it won’t break them. They won’t be exhausted. It’s not going to make them a grumpy, tired mess for the next three, five days.
So, if you feel you have a more easygoing, flexible little one, or an older child, then you’ll probably get away with doing it in one fell swoop. And if you’re not sure and you feel like, oh, I actually need a bit of a halfway option here, then go for the meet in the middle. If you feel like the gradual might be too gradual or the one fell swoop might be too much of a jump, then just meet in the middle and you’ve got that middle of the road option there as well. Okay.
So, I hope this has helped you with three different ways that you can navigate the upcoming autumn clocks going back.
In my next blog, I’m going to be talking all about crying and sleep training. This is not to be missed. I’m going to share all the tips about what crying means, how it is or isn’t there with sleep training, the myths and the facts so you can really understand that. In the meantime, sleep soundly.
If you’d like to have a chat about challenges with your little one’s sleep and receive a complimentary ‘next steps’ plan, we invite you to schedule a no-cost Discovery Call with one of our coaches today.