Clocks change by one hour twice a year in the UK at the start and end of UK Summer Time, with summer 2019 officially ending on Sunday 27e October. When this happens, the 60-minute jump from our total sleep routine often makes life impossible for babies and children who don’t fully understand why things are turned upside down and why mom and dad are always in bed when they are bright. and windy. the old time zone.
Rather than making the adjustment all at once, it is better to spread the change over six days. This is closer to our natural body clock expectation that things change about 2 minutes a day and are much more manageable for children and babies. In fact, making the switch in a single day is now known to create an effect called social jet lag, as it mimics a time zone jump similar to long-haul flights across different time zones. All systems of the body can be affected, including digestion and mental alertness.
Here are my tips for minimizing the effect on young children and babies:
Make a gradual adjustment
Set back your bedtime and waking times ten minutes per day over a six-day period. Here, 8:00 p.m. becomes 7:50 p.m., 7:30 p.m. becomes 7:20 p.m. and so on. If you have older children, they can normally cope with a 15 minute adjustment over four days starting Thursday night, as this is just the Friday school day routine.
Adjust all the routines in the day
Adjusting each part of your day will keep each part of your body clock in sync. This includes nap time and bath time for babies and toddlers, and all meal times for the whole family. For older kids who no longer take a bath, you can have them read a book later or longer, or start your bedtime routine like cleaning their teeth (without the bright light) later.
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Go out to enjoy the sun
The morning sun is an essential element in helping the body to wake up. It stimulates the production of cortisol, the “wake-up hormone”, and makes it easier to fall asleep at night because it strengthens our biological clock. (circadian rhythm). Sunlight on our skin also produces vitamin D, which helps us deal with the winter blues and improves our mood and sleep.
Exercise outside too
Plan your mornings with any exercise of the day, with a more relaxed afternoon tapping into your kids’ energy to keep them awake later. Keep the lights slightly brighter than normal in the early evening to stretch the evenings a bit each day.
Improve sleep hygiene for you and the whole family
Good sleep for the whole family begins with parents leading by example. Explain to older children why sleep is important and set an example by not taking your phone from the bedroom, making it easier to set reasonable limits, with one rule for everyone. If you have poor sleep hygiene, your children will learn this habit from you.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t go as planned
Regardless of the issues and the inability to sort things out either early in the week or at night itself, any disruption in children’s sleep tends to be temporary. Most babies, infants and children are back on track within 3 days to a week or less
Article written by Dave Gibson, founder of The Sleep Site. Dave was practicing as a naturopath and osteopath in London for over 15 years and he is also a qualified hypnotherapist, providing naturopathic advice in a wide range of conditions to promote good sleep patterns and quality sleep.
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