How To Get Good Sleep In Spite Of Daylight Savings Time
On Sunday March 8th at 2am, Daylight Saving Time starts and the clocks turn forward one hour. Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour later on Sunday, which means it will be darker in the morning and there will be more light in the evening. If your child is more sensitive to changes in their schedule, they may have more trouble adjusting. Here are some tips on how to get good sleep and adjust your child’s sleep schedule at the start of Daylight Saving Time.
Gradually shift their schedule ahead of the time change
Prepare in advance of the time change by gradually moving your child’s entire daytime schedule earlier. Begin by moving breakfast 10-15 mins earlier, then naptime, then lunch and so on until the entire daytime schedule has been shifted. Then repeat the next day. The gradual shift should help their internal clock adjust so that they will be waking up at the new time on Sunday morning.
Power down a few hours before bedtime
What are some things to help you sleep? About an hour or two before your child’s bedtime, draw the curtains, dim the lights in the house, and avoid the use of any electronics. Minimizing the exposure to bright light will encourage the production of melatonin, which will help your child wind down. Ensure your child’s bedroom is dark by using some room darkening curtains so that the new early evening light doesn’t make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Start Sunday on the new time
If your child sleeps in later than their normal wake time, go in and wake them no more than 30 minutes later so that you can start the day closer to the new time. Make sure all of your child’s naps, meals and activities happen on the new time to help them adjust as quickly as possible.
Expose your child to plenty of daylight
Try to expose your child to plenty of daylight, especially in the morning. This will help reset their circadian clock making it easier to adjust to the new time.
Allow a few days to adjust
Rather than shifting your child’s schedule ahead of the time change, you can shift it gradually after the time change. Spend a few days moving their bedtime, wake time, meal times and nap times earlier in increments to allow their internal clock a few days to adjust.
Some children adjust to the start of Daylight Saving Time easier than others, but the key is to be patient and consistent, and their internal clocks should be back on track in just a few days.
Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.