The leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting cooler….yes, it’s that time of year again, the end of daylight saving. When everything was all well at sleepytime we get to get another bump in the road to mess with sleep. This time we’re moving our clocks backward. The clocks “fall back” on Sunday 27th of October at 2 am. Unfortunately, 7 am is now 6 am – and 7 pm is now 6 pm. Your child may wake earlier and so may your baby. A baby’s internal clock ( circadian rhythm) can’t just change in the way an adult might. To survive the end of daylight saving, here are several ideas to prepare for Sunday and going forward into winter.
What’s the evidence for the effect of the ending of Daylight Saving on Sleep
According to Craig Canapari, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale University, notes there is little research on this topic in children. In general, small children (and their parents) will struggle more with falling back and teenagers struggle more with clocks springing forward. You or your child may wake earlier, however, your teenager may really like it and enjoy the extra hour of sleep.
How to help the whole family survive the end of Daylight Saving
Sometimes, its really nice to leave the clocks alone for Saturday night. Everyone in the family can gently get used to the change and transition whilst you have a slow and leisurely breakfast.
Be patient and try not to worry. Everyone in the family may feel a bit sleep deprived and in general, it does go back to normal. There may some incidences of tantrums or tired behaviours, try not to overschedule in the following week.
Our body’s internal sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) are regulated by light and darkness and heavily influenced by our environment. This is why we often become sleepy once it starts to get dark and many of us wake up with the sun. It is regulated by melatonin a hormone that’s made by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin helps control your daily sleep-wake cycles. typically, melatonin levels start to rise in the mid-to-late evening, after the sun has set. During the shorter, darker days of winter, your body may produce melatonin earlier or later in the day, which partly throws off your natural sleep cycles. As a result, you may experience fatigue, a drop in energy, mood changes, or other symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Natural sunlight affects melatonin levels in the mornings is so important for everyone’s sleep cycle.
There is also some evidence that eating certain foods such as walnuts, cherries, kiwi fruits, and cows milk all contain melatonin.
In addition, if they use a clock to see what time it is in the morning, the day after ensure that you move their clock an hour forward so they don’t get up an hour earlier.
Try to split the difference between the old and new time. How might that work with:
Your School Age child and the End of Daylight Saving
Three days earlier, ( now ) you could move your child’s bedtime later by 30 minutes and then return to his old schedule after the time change. For example, if your child normally sleeps from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. encourage him to sleep from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. for three days before falling back, then return to the old 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. schedule on the new time.
Your Baby and the end of Daylight Saving
Try to take it slowly, some babies may have an easy-going temperament and be able to go with the flow a bit more. If your baby is a little more temperamental, then help them to make the adjustment slow and steady leading up to end Daylight Savings time you can slowly adjust your child’s schedule a little later.
Three days before Sunday you can start shifting your child’s schedule later by 20/30 minutes. Start with naps. So a nap at 9.00 am will start at 9:20 am and then move the bedtime later too.
Within several days, you will be close to the new adjusted time with a later bedtime. If your child’s wakeup is becoming earlier, STOP, don’t keep shifting the schedule stay where you are or even go back for a few more days. Ensure that you have your blackout blinds and keep the room dark.
Your Toddler and the end of Daylight Saving
Similarly to babies, you may want to adjust their nap schedule and by 20 or 30 minutes later and their bedtime too.
In conclusion. Just remember, we all survive this time every year and try not to worry or change anything drastically in order to over-correct sleep. So remind yourself it is just the Autumn again.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for your commitment to the wellbeing of your child and your family. Remember: parenting is hard work and you all deserve support. Please share the gratitude and love by sharing and liking my Facebook Page and do contact me to hear about my workshops and consultations. With Love Catherine