Today, over 70 countries worldwide use Daylight Savings Time and over one billion people every year set their clocks one hour ahead when DST starts.
For most of us the time change means getting off of work during daylight hours and waking up before the sun rises, but for parents everywhere, it could mean spending another hour coaxing your little ones to sleep. There are plenty of positives to daylight savings, but the hassle of adjusting their sleeping pattern isn’t one of them. The early-to-bed, early-to-wake routine will be especially hard to sell to your kids.
The “spring forward/fall back” switch messes with everyone’s internal clock, but there are some steps you can take to ensure you all get a good night’s sleep.
Preparing for the Time Change
1. Control the Lights
Layering drapery panels over blinds or shades can reduce the amount of light in your child’s room and help them fall asleep during daylight hours. Many window treatments, such as 3 Day Blinds’ Woven Wood Shades, can also be paired with blackout liners. It will take some adjusting, but extra layers will help you fool your child’s internal clock and ensure you all get a good night’s rest.
2. Tire them out – Preferably in the Sun
Mealtonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles. According to sleep consultant, Karen Schwarzback, “Daylight sun exposure stimulates corisol, and actually helps improve Melatonin levels at the end of the day.” Exposing children to sunlight in the early afternoon will boost their Melatonin production.
3. Shift their Schedule Slowly
In the days leading up to the time change, try making your child’s bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night. By making the adjustment slowly over a few days, it will be easier to get your child’s internal clock on track and have them sleeping soundly at bedtime.
4. Be Mindful of the Foods You Serve Before Bedtime
Sugar is a stimulant and you will want to cut out all sugar before bedtime avoid carbohydrates that will turn into sugar. For snacks before bedtime, choose instead, foods with complex carbs with protein and calcium. Serve some of these foods on the list that will encourage sleep.
- Jasmine Rise
- Tart Cherry Juice
- Whole Grains
- Fortified Cereal
eatingwell.com has an extensive list of foods that will promote sleep and can help you prepare your little ones for bedtime.
Daylight savings takes some adjusting for everyone, but especially children who have a routine bedtime. Help your family get back on track with their sleeping habits by being mindful of the foods they eat, dimming the lights, and giving them plenty of time outdoors. These recommendations will help make daylight savings easier for everyone.