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Surviving the start of daylight savings

For those of you based in New Zealand and Australia on Sunday October 4, 2020, clocks are moving forward by one hour as daylight savings starts. What does this mean for your little one’s sleep and what can you do to not disrupt their sleep too much? Read on for all the tips on how to deal with the beginning of daylight savings.


Changing your little one’s internal clock


It is important to change your little one’s internal clock well before daylight savings starts to ensure their sleep does not get disrupted too much. Trying to adjust to daylight savings in one day can leave us feeling jet lagged and out of sync which is why it is best to prepare for the change gradually. In order to change your baby’s internal biological clock we need to use the 3 zeitgebers (timegivers) food, light, social interaction.


What does this mean? It means that your child’s body has to be re-trained to the new time using food, light and social interaction. So it is not enough to simply adjust your little one’s nap and bedtime, you also need to adjust meals and milk feeds.


Since most children will not respond to this change within one day, doing it gradually will result in a much less stressful transition.


Now to the good news! For those of you with early risers, you now have the opportunity to easily move wake up time forward by one hour.


Preparing for daylight savings


There are two ways to go about preparing for daylight savings. You can either do this proactively starting 6 days before or re-actively starting after daylight savings starts. The below strategies are based on a 7 am - 7 pm schedule.


Proactive strategy


  • Monday wake up at 6.45 am, offer feeds and naps 15 min earlier, bedtime 6.45 pm instead of 7 pm

  • Tuesday same as Monday

  • Wednesday wake up at 6.30 am, offer feeds and naps 30 min earlier than usual, bedtime 6.30 am

  • Thursday same as Wednesday

  • Friday wake up 6.15 am, offer feeds and naps 45 min earlier than usual, bedtime 6.15 am

  • Saturday same as Friday

  • Sunday wake up at 7 am (old 6 am), naps and feed time back to normal times on new clock time, 7 pm bedtime again (old 6 pm)

Reactive strategy

  • Monday wake up 15 min earlier so 7.45 am new time, offer naps and feeds 15 min earlier, bedtime 7.45 pm instead of 8 pm

  • Tuesday same as Monday

  • Wednesday wake up 7.30 am, offer naps and feeds 30 min earlier, bedtime 7.30 pm

  • Thursday same as Wednesday

  • Friday wake up at 7.15 am, offer naps and feeds 45 min earlier, bedtime at 7.15 pm

  • Saturday same as Friday

  • Sunday 7am wake up, naps and feeds have been pushed forward an hour, 7 pm bedtime

Strategy for early risers

  • Wednesday wake up 5 am, usual nap time, usual bedtime

  • Thursday wake up 5 am, offer naps and feeds 15 min earlier, bedtime 6.45 pm

  • Friday wake up 5 am, offer naps and feeds 30 min earlier, bedtime 6.30 pm

  • Saturday, wake up 5 am, offer naps and feeds 45 min earlier, bedtime 6.15 pm

  • Sunday, daylight savings starts! 5 am wake up is now 6 am, naps and feed time back to normal times on new clock time, normal bedtime again on new clock time


Using blackout blinds can help to keep your little one’s room dark during the transition as light can block the production of the sleep hormone melatonin so a very dark room is important for great sleep.


Should you have any questions about these daylight savings strategies, please get in touch.


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