Time to SPRING ahead!  Tips to make the transition easier

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! Which means that the clocks spring ahead by one hour and we ‘lose’ an hour of sleep. This happens on Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 2:00 AM.

Any time we have to turn the clocks forward or backwards, we are affected because we are used to a certain rhythm for sleeping and waking. This change affects people in different ways. It can take a minimum of one week for the body clock to adjust to a one-hour time shift. For many children the adjustment requires closer to three weeks!

You can choose to face this reality on March 13, 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, bedtime, and wake time 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 9 you would put them down at 6:45, next night 6:30, next night 6:15 and then 6:00. Then on March 13 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 and you are just not getting extra sleep. This is something adults and children should do!

If you would like to start tomorrow, you can do this over two weeks with Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s recommendations:

Here are six steps to take.

  1. Tuesday March 1st.  Begin with wake time.  If your child wakes at 7:00 AM wake him Monday, February 28 morning at 6:45 AM.
  2. Thursday, March 3rd move nap and sleep times fifteen minutes earlier.  Once you do, do not let your child nap fifteen minutes longer so if he was napping 12-2:00 PM he is now napping 11:45-1:45 PM.  Wake him if needed.  If bedtime was 8:00 PM it is now 7:45 PM.
  3. Saturday, March 5 move meals, nap, sleep and wake times another fifteen minutes earlier.  Make outside morning play time a priority.  Even if it is cold where you live and you have to bundle up – get outside.  Our body clock is set by exposure to light.  Now his wake time is 6:30 AM.  His nap 11:30 AM and his sleep time 7:30 PM.
  4. Wednesday, March 9 move meals, nap, sleep and wake times another fifteen minutes earlier.  Wake time is now 6:15 AM, naptime is 11:15 AM and sleep time is 7:15 PM.
  5. Sunday, March 13 complete the shift.  On this day we all will have officially sprung ahead one hour and shifted our clocks accordingly, as a result wake time is back to 7:00 AM according to the clock on the wall.  Nap is 12:00 noon and sleep time is 7:00 PM – just as it was before.   Thanks to your earlier efforts moving the times in fifteen minute increments however, instead of losing an entire hour of sleep your child’s body will only have to adjust by fifteen minutes.  The sleep deprivation that can fuel those power struggles will be drastically reduced as a result.
  6. Monday, March 14 plan to allow your family more time to get out of the house.  Even with the proactive steps you have taken a few extra hugs and a little more help may be needed.  Do NOT schedule yourself into any early morning commitments.  You’ll be dragging a bit too.  Expect in the next few weeks a few more meltdowns as your child’s body clock catches up with the clock on the wall.  Soon however, everyone will be back in sync.

Take notice of how you feel and if needed, sneak in a 20-minute nap during the day to get back on track.  Remember that driving overtired is just as dangerous as driving intoxicated!

Other general guidelines:

  • Stick to your regular pre-sleep routine
  • Keep the bedroom dark
  • Keep the home calm with low lights an hour before bedtime
  • Avoid exercise, food, caffeine, screens, 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

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.