Time change: How to survive and thrive
The tradeoff of the time change each fall is this: an extra hour of sleep for increasingly dark nights and brighter mornings. Each year, we look forward to that welcome extra hour of sleep. But for parents of young children (or those with pets), it is a mixed bag – as their biological clocks may lead them to wake you up even earlier than usual. Here’s how to help them (and you) adjust to the time change:
A day or two ahead:
- Move bedtimes back in increments a night or two before to prepare them for the change
- In addition, move other activities such as meals and daytime naps back by the same increment
- For some people, just jumping into the time change and adjusting afterward works
Adjusting after the time change:
- Get plenty of natural light, particularly in the morning, to reset your Circadian rhythm
- Exercise outside if you can; early in the day is best
- Ideally, get up with the sunrise – or consider using a dawn simulator or light box in the morning
- Avoid screens before bed. If you must use one, use a blue light filter or light blocking glasses
- Eat breakfast within an hour after waking up
- If there is too much light in the bedroom, an eye mask can help
- Choose a relaxing or calming activity before bed. This is a great way to practice self-care with activities such as:
- Shower or bath
- Reading a print book (although nothing too disturbing or suspenseful!)
- Long term, getting a mattress, pillow, and sheets of natural fiber is helpful; the breathability enhances sleep
Finally, you may be pondering what to do with that extra hour. For many people, the best way to adjust to the time change might just be to use that hour to get an extra hour of sleep! Rather than staying up late, go to bed at your regular time and let yourself wake up naturally, if possible. You may be surprised at how good it feels to wake up fully rested!
NBCNews.com "Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday. Here’s how to ease into it."
Todaysparent.com "Helping Kids Adjust"
ChicagoTribune.com "How to adjust to the end of Daylight Savings Time"