Clock Change Infographic
Clock Change Infographic

The clocks spring forward on Sunday 29th March 2015, we lose an hour sleep but hey, British Summer Time is here! But for many parents the clock change and lighter evenings can present a myriad of problems where hard-won bedtime strategies can fall apart.

Warren Evans, London's foremost bed makers, have been helping the nation to get a good night's sleep for almost 40 years. Dave Gibson BSC has been practising as a Naturopath and Osteopath for over 12 years and is Warren Evans' very own Sleep Advisor. He shares some of his practical tips and advice to help the whole family make the transition and sleep soundly and naturally.

1. Make change gradual: whether you change bedtime over the course of two weeks, one week or a weekend - changing bed time by a set amount of minutes each day will help. This really depends on how young your child is - the smaller the child the longer the period of change.

If your child is finding it difficult to get to sleep you can try relaxation exercises with them and teach them to breath from their diaphragm by placing your hand on their belly as they breath in and out.

2. Tire them out and wind them down: Plan days with physical activity for the days on which you are putting bedtime earlier. At night, dim the lights and close the curtains a half-hour or an hour before bedtime to encourage a sense that bedtime is coming. Be sure that the windows have black-out shades as evenings stay lighter later.

3. Adjust activities and practice what you preach: Bath time, nap time and meal times also need to change. If the bedtime changes are gradual - say, 10 minutes over 6 days - then change the other activities by 10 minutes as well. And be sure to adjust your own schedule in the same way you change your children's. It will make the routine move more easily for everyone

4. Altering waking time: If you have a child who wakes up early naturally, and you'd like a later morning, move the bedtime back a half hour rather than an hour. Many children have internal clocks and won't adjust to a full hour change, but you might get them to sleep an extra 30 minutes.

Adjust the time by 15 minutes in two increments, over the course of 4 days. If 30 minutes is too much for your child to adjust to, you still might get 15 minutes.

5. Eat right for sleep: Always be careful with what your child eats close to bedtime. Do not allow children to have drinks that contain caffeine and or food and drinks that contain lots of sugar as they can affect the ability to fall asleep.

Milk contains tryptophan which increases the amount of serotonin, a natural sedative. This is why a lot of old folk remedies include warm milk. And cherries contain melatonin, which the body produces to regulate sleep. Regardless, any disruption tends to be temporary. Most infants and children get back on schedule within 3 days.

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