Sleep guru's advice for adjusting to daylight saving time

Look for the tired signs.
Look for the tired signs. Photo: Shutterstock

Just when you've got your bub into a regular sleep routine, daylight saving time comes around and everything is turned upside down when the clocks change. It's amazing how one hour's difference can wreak havoc on your carefully calibrated schedule.

To help you try to bring everything back into line, POPSUGAR Australia asked sleep guru Elizabeth Sloane, author of The Gift of Sleep, for her advice on how to adjust to daylight savings. And while she says it can take up to a week to adjust fully, there are a few things you can do to make the transition much easier.

"A lot of mums get very angsty about it, especially if they've got early morning sleepers," says Elizabeth. "Newborn babies are usually not effected by the start or finish of daylight saving time. 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," she explains on her website. "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!" she adds.

Keep scrolling to read more about Elizabeth's tips for readjusting.

1. Stick to your routine

"Like anything, it's important to transition your baby once it does set in and be consistent," she says. This means following the same bedtime routine you have established, even if you start it a bit earlier. If your usual routine is bath-book-bed, don't deviate from that.

Elizabeth says routines can make all the difference in helping your baby fall asleep.

"Post 6 months, sleeping bags are essential," she said. "Just as we have put on a nightie and brush teeth at night time, they have a bag and stories, and that's their cue. When they get bagged, they get their story, they know, "oh, this is the big sleep".

2. Follow your baby's cues

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Knowing the signs of when your baby is tired and responding is important to ease the transition with the change in time.

"Daylight savings, clock changes, whatever it is, I would always go with the cue of when they're tired," Elizabeth says.

Cues your baby is ready for sleep can include anything from rubbing their eyes or tugging at their ears, to grizzling and refusing to be put down. Follow their lead and respond when they seem tired.

3. Start on Saturday

"Transitioning into daylight savings, there's a choice of two things in terms of starting on the actual Saturday that it comes in, or alternately building up a routine for the week moving up to it," Elizabeth explains.

While some mums start the transition on the Thursday before daylight saving time starts, she recommends starting on the day itself.

"I think it's really important to keep the routine right up until the Saturday and then move through the Sunday routine bearing in mind to look for the cues," she says.

4. Transition slowly

When trying to move baby's schedule to match the clock, Elizabeth recommends doing it in increments over a couple of days after the start of daylight saving.

"I would aim to adjust the bed routine in 20 minute increments until you make that up, which should take no more than three nights," Elizabeth explains.

"If it's 7:45 old time, but it's 8:45 new time, I'd transition in 15 to 20 minute increments."

5. Pay attention to environment, but don't stress over it

Elizabeth says the environment is a good thing to keep in mind to make sure your baby gets a good night's sleep, but to also not worry too much about getting the temperature perfect.

"Prowl the house at 4:30, make sure the blinds are down to take all the heat out of the room," she suggests. "Traditionally, I like 19 to 21 degrees in the room, but I think the rule of thumb post-6 months, there's too much pressure on parents to get that optimum temperature. I would throw away the devices.

"If it's a shockingly balmy January day, make sure you cool your baby's room down. And if you're using a sleeping bag, use a 0.5 TOG sleeping bag. Just put a nappy and singlet on them," she says.

"I also love the old, standard oscillating, cheap-as-chips fan. You put it in the corner of the room, face it towards the wall so the air just ricochets around and keeps that hot air moving and circulating around the cot," she adds.

"If it's a freezing cold night, move up to a 2.5 TOG and really make the room warm. I'm not advocating putting heating on overnight, but I most certainly have always recommended putting heating on in the room before bed so when they come out from the bath it's nice and cosy on those particularly cold nights."

This story originally appeared on POPSUGAR Australia, read it here and find more on Facebook.