Spring is in the air! The sun is shining and we are getting a little bit warmer weather! YAY! However, that also means it is that time of year again when we have to change the clocks for daylight savings! This means that the clocks spring ahead by one hour and we ‘lose’ an hour of sleep. This happens on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 2:00 AM.

Any time we have to turn the clocks forward or backward, we are affected because we are used to a certain rhythm for sleeping and waking. The spring change is usually a bit more challenging than the fall change because we lose that hour of sleep. This change affects people in different ways. Some may not notice it much, while others will feel tired and irritable. Typically, children adjust within a week or two.

You can choose to face this reality on March 14, or you can do some things now to make the transition a bit easier. You can start tonight by going to bed a little earlier and get some extra sleep. Then make a conscious choice and start preparing for the change 4-5 nights before. The ideal thing to do is to move naptime and bedtime 15 minutes earlier each day so that by the time you reach Sunday you can put your child down at the original time. For example – if bedtime is currently 7:00, starting Wednesday, March 10 you would put them down at 6:45, next night 6:30, next night at 6:15, and then 6:00. Then on March 14, you can put them to bed at 7:00 and they should be better adjusted. Make sure to adjust the wake-up time by 15 minutes as well so that your body adjusts to the new timing. This is something adults and children should do!

Each person adjusts to these changes in their own way. Take notice of how you feel and if needed, sneak in a 20-minute nap ( but not any longer) early in the day to get back on track.  Remember that driving overtired is just as dangerous as driving intoxicated! Anticipate potential behavior challenges with your child as their body adjusts. Make sure you are getting enough rest so that you can have the patience to deal with them!

Other general guidelines:

  • Stick to your regular pre-sleep routine
  • Keep the bedroom dark – utilize room darkening shades
  • Keep the home calm with low lights an hour before bedtime
  • Turn off screens one to two hours before bedtime
  • Avoid exercise, food, caffeine, and alcohol at least two hours before bedtime
  • Breathe deeply to help relax the mind and body for sleep
  • Essential oils can help calm: lavender, jasmine, chamomile
  • Be sure to open the shades and get lots of light during the day

Protect your sleep so that your entire family gets the rest they need to shine their best self and stay healthy!

If you would like to discuss this transition or any other challenges you are having regarding sleep, please contact me at Kathy@shineeachday.com.