Daylight Savings Time
With the end of Daylight Savings Time quickly approaching, the time change can cause disruption in a child’s sleep schedule. Here’s how to get your child ready to adjust this fall!
This year, Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 6th at 2am. While it seems like you will be getting an extra hour of sleep, it actually increases the odds that your child will wake up at 5am instead of his usual 6am; and that’s obviously not fun for you!
When Daylight Savings Time ends, it is important to make sure your child does not go to bed too early or wake up earlier than he already does. So when you “fall back,” make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening and make sure that the bedroom is not too bright in the morning. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s internal circadian rhythm. It increases in the evening as it becomes dark, which helps promote sleep, and shuts down when the sun is out, which can increase alertness and wakefulness. Room darkening can help in the fall since it lessens the chances of the sun waking up your child before you want him to get up. Black out curtains can be very helpful to achieve this.
It can be helpful to start a bit early before the time changes in order to help your child maintain a bedtime routine. In the fall, we recommend starting on October 31st, a week before the time change. Put your child to bed 10 minutes later each night for the six nights leading up to the time change. While 10 minutes does not sound like much, studies show that you will actually see them adjust more easily with 10-minute increments. Depending on your child’s temperament and how comfortable you feel letting him lie in bed, you may want to get your child 10 minutes later each morning for the week leading up to the time change.
Be patient, the time change can cause short-term changes in your child’s mood, but your understanding and support will help him adjust a little better. Your child should adjust within a week or two of the time change, keeping both him and you happy and well rested!