Twice a year there’s a time change… With the time change our days get shorter, and then longer. Come Spring, the clocks move forward an hour which means daylight will feel longer and the darkness of the winter starts to lift.
For some, the one-hour change can be as, or more, difficult than the jet lag we experience when travelling to another land. We asked sleep expert, Alanna McGinn from Good Night Sleep Site her top three tips for getting through the time change with your family.
- Because we are moving our clocks forward you can gradually adjust your 24-hour biological clock by having your family wakeup slightly earlier than usual a few days before the time change. So if wake time is 6:30 am try to push it to 6:00 am. Then once the clocks spring forward you will already be adjusted to the new times.
- You can also keep wakeup and bedtimes the same using the new adjusted time. You would wake up at your usual time on the Sunday morning of the time change and carry on the day as usual.
- You can also go to the extreme and a few days before the change shift your entire day earlier by at least one hour, including meal times.
ROUTINE FOR ANYONE IS KEY.
Whether you adjust easily to time change or not, Alanna says, “It shouldn’t take longer than a week to adjust. For both adults and children.”
Light affects our wake and sleep cycles, helping the sleep hormone melatonin either start producing or switch off. After the clocks change, the lighter evenings and mornings can upset that flow. Alanna offers tips for just this:
- “…make sure you are promoting a sleep environment conducive to sleep:
- Black-out blinds to make it nice and dark.
- White noise machines to help with early morning noises (traffic, birds.)
- Keep tech out of the bedroom. No bright LED lights at least one hour prior to bedtime”
Her last point is healthy for anyone. In an age of taking the laptop or tablette to bed, realizing that the screen actually affects the hormone balance for sleep, is a good tip for anyone, at any time of year.
Remember that as little ones (and some big) get used to the one hour change, their hunger patterns may take a bit of time to adjust. Any type of meltdown, moodiness or lash-out could be because of a drop in blood sugar level. Keep an eye on the clock and be ready when you are at home and out for a snack attack.