Early Wakings & The Clocks Going Forward

20 Mar 2022

Can you believe your Mother’s Day gift this year is losing one hour’s sleep? You can’t make it up can you! However, if you have an early riser this might actually be the best gift ever! As of Sunday 27 March, 5am automatically becomes 6am. Not too shabby!

So how do you use the clocks going forward as an opportunity to break this cycle?

Why Are They Waking Early?

Think about the reason your little one might be waking early. Identifying why the early waking might be happening is critical to making sure your child continues to wake later, rather than early mornings quicky slipping back in again once the clocks have changed.

Is it their daytime sleep?

Grab a pen a paper and write down your little one’s routine over the next few days. Are they getting the right amount of day sleep for their age? Is the gap between their final nap of the day and bedtime the right length, also known as a wake window? Overtiredness leads to increased cortisol in the human body. This cortisol increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels and gives our children a boost of energy, just like adrenaline. But increased cortisol also helps us wake up in the morning; therefore too much cortisol in our children, and our kids will wake up earlier than they otherwise would. So ensuring you get your child the right amount of sleep, and at the right times of the day will reduce this overtiredness and keep cortisol to normal levels.

I have ‘ideal’ routines on my Instagram and Facebook pages for the different age groups. They are just a guide, but they should be able to help you gauge if your little one is in the right ballpark for daytime sleep. Use this week as an opportunity to get their daytime routine in a good place for after the clock change.

Could it be their sleep environment?

Some children are really sensitive to light. As the sun starts creeping up in the morning they may start to rise with it. Make sure their room remains DARK DARK DARK. Sometimes investing in blackout blinds is all you need to resolve early wakings and short naps. It’s the same for us adults; think about when you take a nap: do you automatically close the blinds? We all sleep a bit better in the dark.

Noise can also be a factor. Once it becomes morning, noise form traffic, birds, animals etc. all start to increase. Is there a noise potentially waking your little one? White noise can be a great blocker to external noise. Just make sure it’s a consistent sound and on all night so you’re not constantly running in and out of their room to turn it back on again.

How You Should Manage The Clocks Changing

There are a few different options for managing the clock change. If your little one is sensitive to change then you might want to take a gradual approach leading up to it. If your little one isn’t impacted, you can literally do nothing and just tweak their naps and bedtime on the Saturday or the Sunday. My blog on How To Manage The Clocks Going Forward goes into these strategies in lots more detail.

After The Clocks Change…

If you find that your little one is still waking early after the clock change then I do have a blog with some great tips on resolving these early wakings.

Good luck. I hope this wee gift of the clock change gives your little one a fresh start to cracking those early wakings!

I am the first male baby and toddler sleep consultant in the UK and Ireland and I specialise in gentle sleep training. I work with families on a one-to-one basis to design bespoke sleep training programmes that work around their lifestyle and little ones needs. I also have a series of age specific online courses starting from £29 that you can follow at your own pace. Come over and follow me on Instagram for lots of tips and strategies for better sleep.