SPRING FORWARD – THE UPCOMING CLOCK CHANGE
Saturday 25th March 2017
You can’t stop it happening on the night of Saturday 25th March 2017 so let’s be prepared!
For many of us, Daylight Savings Time changes are enough to put the fear of God in us, but those with “poor sleepers” really dread what may happen! A little one with an already disrupted sleep pattern can sometimes get a bit messier. But on the flip side, if your house is plagued by an early riser, this particular adjustment as we Spring Forward, is potentially good news and you really may not need to do anything about it.
Nobody wants an hour less sleep, but as with many other sleep related issues there are a few simple ways of addressing it. In fact simply, facing it head on can often really work out well.
For starters, you could simply bury your head in the sand and do nothing. Over a few days, you and your child will naturally adjust to the new time. You may get a few random starts in the first couple of days but if your little one is a good sleeper and generally manages to get through the night little disruption, this could be the perfect option for you.
I suggest that you try to stick to your daily schedules once the change occurs. For example if your little ones currently have a snooze during the day at around midday, try and keep it as close to midday on the day after the change (Sunday 26th March). Their body clock will still think its midday (even though the clock says 1pm), but try and be persistent and consistent and you should see things fall into place over the course of a week or so. The same applies to bedtime.
Another option is to meet the clock change somewhere in the middle. On the day of the change, wake your little ones half an hour earlier. Treat naptimes the same and adjust by half an hour. That night, go to bed half an hour earlier than normal. Over the course of a few days, you should be back to normal again.
Finally, another suggestion would be to start to put the little ones to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, starting a few nights before the change takes place. There’s no point putting them down too much earlier than their normal bedtime, quite often they won’t be tired enough and the wheels fall off! So, 15 minutes earlier on the Wednesday is a good starting point. The next night, bring it back a further 15 minutes. Same again on Friday, so by Saturday they should be well adjusted and the change will be seamless! If you choose this option, you will also need to get them up 15 minutes earlier each day. That’s the nasty part and the element which we like the least! Resist the temptation of a lie-in, it can only upset things.
Sticking to your bedtime and indeed daily routines with the little ones will also be helpful. The small things that suggest to kids that its bedtime will play a huge part when you are adjusting the times. They may not be able to read the clock but the “cues” you give them will guide them as to what is happening next. For example, keeping the end of day routine the same as before, albeit a bit earlier will encourage them to go asleep when you suggest it.
The early bright mornings can be a bit of a problem at this time of year and often it’s external factors that drive our body clocks such as daylight and darkness. I would always recommend black out blinds in bedrooms for your little ones. In saying that, these can be costly so there are a couple of alternatives available, including heavy duty black sacks on the windows! Not the most aesthetic from the outside looking in, but for the sake of a good nights’ sleep, wouldn’t you do anything? Darkness helps the body to produce Melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone and brightness will hinder its production. But, in the morning lash open the curtains and let the light in, and kickstart their day.
This seasonal change is not the worst one though. Longer periods of daylight in the evenings make it so much easier for us all to get out and enjoy some fresh air which, not just for kids, is one of the best ways to encourage a good nights’ sleep. The change in the weather is also helpful as we can go outdoors and try to tire the kids out!
Most children will take a week to ten days to really adjust, some will do it with ease. I hope all of yours fall into the latter category!
Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/divinedecay/4133931153/”>satak