Daylight Saving Time is right around the corner. Get your best rest with these sleep tips from our resident sleep expert, Dr. Janet Kennedy, a sleep psychologist in New York.
Sleep tips for parents:
- In the days leading up to the end of Daylight Saving Time, shift your child's bedtime a little later. If your child goes to bed at 7, shifting the bedtime to 7:15 and then 7:30 over the course of several days can ease the transition. Then, when the clocks change, put your child to bed at 6:30 for a few nights before gradually shifting it back to 7. This is important because 7 p.m. in the new time will feel like 8 p.m. If your child is overtired at bedtime, he or she is more likely to wake up during the night and they're more likely to wake up too early the next morning. Managing the bedtime can soften the blow of the change in wakeup time.
- Prepare yourself for some early mornings. Your child’s body clock will take some time to reset. It can take about a week before things smooth out.
- Don’t respond right away in the morning. If it’s too early, wait as long as you can before going in. Gradually push it later over the course of several days.
- Clocks that change color to indicate that it’s morning will help toddlers to understand that it’s still time to sleep.
- At the designated wake-up time, turn on the lights and start the day. This helps to set the body clock.
- Try to keep naps close to the usual time after the clocks change. If this is a struggle, split the difference as with bedtime.
Your rest is important too and the time change can impact your quality (and amount) of sleep.
Sleep tips for your best rest:
- Limit alcohol on Saturday night to ensure good quality sleep. Even if you wake up early with the time change, you will feel better during the day because the quality of your sleep is better without alcohol.
- Don’t nap! The circadian rhythm has to catch up with local time and napping will delay that process.
- Similarly, don’t overdo the caffeine. It’s tempting to drink an extra cup of coffee (or three) when feeling sluggish due to the time change. But that extra caffeine can make it harder to sleep when you need to and, more importantly, it compromises sleep quality even if it doesn’t keep you awake.
- Stay up until your normal bedtime on Sunday night. Resist the urge to go to bed early even though you’ll likely be more tired. Staying up until your normal bedtime will help your body adjust to the time change more quickly.
- Be careful on the road! Studies have shown that the Sunday after Daylight Saving Time ends is a dangerous day on the road. Don’t drive drowsy.
For more helpful sleep tips & tricks, visit our Resource Guide.