The clocks spring forward on 26th March 2017 and at last the official British Summer time begins. We can say goodbye to the cold dark winter and even though we loose an hours sleep that night, the benefits of the longer brighter days ahead more than make up for it!
So what impact will this clock change have on our sleep and is there anything we can do in advance to help us move seamlessly into our new time zone?
We will of course not be ready for sleep at our normal bedtime and may lay restless in our bed unable to sleep. Then when the morning comes we will be tried and groggy and not ready to get up.
“Some people’s body clocks can make the change quickly, but for others it is not so easy.”
So for those of us that want to be proactive, this is what you can do to help both for you and your little ones:
For about 2 weeks leading up to 26th March start putting your child to bed 15 minutes earlier. Do this slowly, shifting the time every 3 or 4 days. The aim is to move the body clock so your child is falling asleep an hour earlier than before. And just as importantly you will also need to wake them up15 minutes earlier in the morning! This will help to regulate their body clock and keep your plan on course.
But don’t just change the time you say goodnight, you will also need to move the start of their bedtime routine, nap times and just as importantly meal times. Eating and sleeping go hand in hand with regulating our body clock so it is vital you change meal times too.
Give clear consistent signals to your little one that bedtime is coming with a focused winding down bedtime routine that includes a short bath, a quiet story such as In the Night Garden’s ‘Goodnight Igglepipple’ book, a cuddle and then into their cot. Keep the bedroom darkened to help produce the sleep hormone melatonin and just use a small nightlight to help you prepare your child for bed.
Light has an enormous influence on our body clocks and the production of melatonin, so as soon as you can in the morning get the family outside into the daylight, this will help suppress the sleep hormone and wake your little ones up.
But overall rejoice the fact that we’ve seen the back of winter for the next few months!!
Written by Mandy Gurney Founder of Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic
020 8 444 0040