Clocks Going Forward Sunday the 27th of March.

It’s Daylight saving, the clocks will go forward one hour on Sunday, March 27, at 1am.

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 and other big concerns in the world, 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!

It’s been a long old winter with cold and windy weather, March is upon us and that means spring, new life and longer days 

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. Stress hormones are at their lowest when we are asleep!

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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.

  • 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.
Clocks
  • 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.

You can also darken your child’s room when the sun rises early or sets late to prevent the sun from peeping through during the early morning hours. With the sun rising so early in the morning now, your child may wake up too early and may struggle to fall back asleep. Keeping their room dark helps signal their bodies that it is still time to sleep. In addition to this change, bedtimes will occur while it is still light outside. Therefore, darkening the room can be a great way to increase melatonin levels at bedtime, allowing your little one to sleep better.   

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.

With global events adding to this stress, there is still a great deal of fear. Fears may be located in sleep disturbances. The amygdala — a brain region that processes emotional events — becomes overactive when you are tired. 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.

Ideas to manage the ” Worry Monsters”

Refrain from “crying it out”

In order to manage their fears, children need assistance. Often I write about a child’s developing brain and how they are learning self-control and self-regulation. If your child is worried, leaving them alone with “the worry” will escalate their sense of being unsafe.

Teach your child to relax and calm

You can calm your child in many ways. Children of all ages will benefit from massages. Massage releases our calm chemical Oxytocin. Include massage in your bedtime routine. Record a lullaby in your voice and play it through the night. Help your children to learn how to breathe by blowing bubbles, or doing tummy breathing. Older children can learn mindfulness.

Talk to them that is normal to be scared of the dark, ghosts, etc.

Often, children feel that they are the only ones who are scared. It is normal for children to feel this way, so tell them it is common for them to feel this way and show them there is no monster in the closet.

Teach self talk: Help them to manage ” the worry monster”

Identify it as the “worry monster”. Help them take control of the situation. You can then help them think of images that make them feel in control, safe, and calm. You can use my safe place exercise here or create one of your own.

Have a consistent Bedtime routine

Evidence shows that consistency is going to help sleep difficulties. A simple bedtime routine of a bath, teeth brushing, story, and hug shouldn’t take more than 40 minutes. Children who are worried tend to stall. This can happen as soon as you climb up the stairs. Children can start feeling anxious about bedtime an hour before bedtime. Take your time and be gentle with them. You may need a therapist to facilitate this process.

Tend to Nightmares quickly

If your child is suffering from nightmares, respond, and reassure quickly. Don’t leave them alone to work it out for themselves. For more on how to manage nightmares here>> nightmares and night terrors<<

In Conclusion.

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.

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.

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