It’s Daylight saving, the clocks are going forward on Sunday 28th of March at 1 am. This means we all lose an hour. To remember which direction to change the clocks there is a simple old saying to memorise: ‘spring forward, fall back’. Despite Coronavirus, don’t forget to adjust your sleep cycles. A good night’s sleep is very important at this time. It’s one of the very best ways to remain healthy! Here are my sleep tips.
Why is getting a good nights sleep so important now!
All of us want to remain healthy through the pandemic. It’s a good time to remember that one of the very best ways to maintain a strong immune system is to get a good night’s sleep. (There’s a lot of complicated-sounding science behind why this is, but it has to do with “T-cells” being better able to fight infected cells when stress hormones are low. And stress hormones are at their lowest when we are asleep!
How does Daylight Saving Affect all of us?
Daylight Saving and how it affects Adult Sleep.
Even though we only lose an hour of sleep, if you are already sleep deprived, this is going to hurt. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it may even make us feel as if we are a little bit jet-lagged for the first week. That’s all everybody needs right now!
Your body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) may be thrown off course, which can affect how much sleep-inducing melatonin is released and when. The majority of us are working most of the day on screens ( blue light) and this impacts on our capacity to absorb melatonin. You can find out further information on how to limit blue light at my blog here:https://bristolchildparentsupport.co.uk/how-to-limit-exposure-toblue-light-and-improve-family-sleep/
Tips to help adults and Teenagers Now.
Dr. Craig Canapari ( I really like his Sleep Book, It’s Never too Late to Sleep Train ( he kindly gave me a copy) he recommends:
- Most teenagers and adults will benefit from getting up an hour earlier the day after “springing ahead”
- In addition, always get up at the same time that day, even though you or your teenager may want to lie in.
- You or your teenager may benefit from a nap but ensure it’s no longer than 20 minutes, otherwise you will not be able to sleep later.
- Expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
- Gradually wake up, if you are an owl, waking up an hour earlier may hurt. My recommendation is to leave your clocks alone Saturday night so that it is not as much of a shock to the body when you open your eyes to look at your clock upon waking up Sunday morning. Instead, wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
Daylight Saving Sleep Tips for children.
Darken Up the Room.
Another tip that is helpful for those of us living in areas where the sun rises early and sets late, is to darken up your child’s room to help with the sun peeping through during the wee hours of the morning. With the sun rising so early now in the morning, your child may wake up too early and may struggle to fall back asleep, keeping their room dark helps signal to their body that it is still time to sleep. With this change also comes bedtimes that occur while it is still light outside, so darkening the room can be very helpful to increase melatonin levels at bedtime, making it easier for your little one to fall asleep.
Adjust Sleep Times.
You can try putting your child to bed five to 15 minutes earlier every few days leading up to the start of daylight savings time. By the time you move the clock forward an hour, your child will already be used to going to bed at an “earlier” time.
For school-aged children, avoid naps
Many parents make the mistake of allowing their child to have a nap during the day following daylight saving, DONT, your child may not be sleepy at bedtime.
Sleep and Anxiety.
The children have returned to school and that may be a welcome relief to some, however, I know that some parents and children feel worried too. Remember not everyone feels the same. Fears may be located in sleep disturbances. The amygdala — a brain region that processes emotional events — becomes overactive when you are tired. Negative emotions may come naturally to us at night. You might notice your child may show:
- Difficulty in falling asleep
- Resistance in going, delaying going to bed
- Clinginess and more night awakenings, nightmares
Please note sleep training alone does not address your child’s fears. This is why it can be ineffective.! This is why I work with helping you and your child manage the fears first, then we can do sleep training safely.
NB. For World Sleep day this Friday, I am offering a free sleep webinar with time for questions.
All the evidence supports that making a regular sleep routine with a consistent wake time, along with exposure to sunlight, is an extremely powerful combination when it comes to healthy sleep. if your child is anxious, do read the blogs below for more information on sleep and anxiety. Stay safe and well during this time.
- Back to Sleep Solutions during the Pandemic.
- Sleep Consultations.
- 9 Ways to Manage the Worry Monster at Bedtimes
- Back to School Anxiety during the Pandemic.
- Recognising Anxiety in Children.
- Helping you and your Child Manage Transitions.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your commitment to the wellbeing of your child and family. In addition, your willingness to keep growing and holding hope. Remember: parenting is hard work and you all deserve support. And when it all starts to feel impossible, ask for help. If you need help and support contact me for a sleep/ consultation or do join my newsletter community.