Its the bi-annual rite of exhaustion. Gaining an extra hour of daylight at night means losing it in the morning. For some of us, the adjustment is a nuisance for a day or two. For others, especially already sleep-deprived parents, it can present extra challenges of getting your kids out of bed in the morning.
So, here's what you need to know and what you can do to help your kids, and yourself, adjust.
When do I need to change my clocks?
The time officially changes at 2 a.m., Sunday, March 13, so move your clock up an hour before you go to sleep.
What makes it so difficult to adjust?
Your body's clock (circadian rhythm) is a 24-hour cycle that tells you when to sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body's clock. It increases in the evening as it becomes dark outside, which helps induce sleep, and then shuts down when it's light out, which can then increase wakefulness and alertness. But daylight saving time throws that natural cycle out of whack a bit, and that can be particularly difficult for kids.
Want to give yourself more time to adjust before the school and workweek begins?
Reset one clock in your home on Friday night or Saturday morning. Then plan your meals and sleep schedule according to that clock. When Monday comes, you'll be on your way to feeling adjusted. If you have activities that weekend, make sure you don't get confused about the correct time!
To change your child's body clock to standard time:
1. Ease into the time change by making bedtime earlier in the days leading up to Sunday. Each night go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier, so when the time changes, you won't have a grumpy child on your hands begging for bed.
2. If its too hard to change bedtimes, especially with older kids, try waking them up earlier each day by 10 to 15 minutes.
3. If you or your child nap, make sure it's early in the day and not too close to bedtime.
4. If it's still light out and your child protests, make the room darker and cooler. Use room- darkening shades, curtains or blinds.
5. Dim the lights! Turn off all electronics (tablets included) about 30 minutes before bedtime. That helps the body's naturally occurring melatonin run its course.
6. Keep the nighttime routine as sleep-conducive as possible. No rousing games before bed and set cell phones on silent or vibrate.
7. Children with good sleep routines have a quiet time routine before bed, stay in their bed through the night and don't need help to get to sleep cope well with the changes in time as they know what to expect at the end of the day regardless of the time.
Other tips to help your entire household make the transition:
8. Moderate exercise can help you sleep better. Just be sure it's not done too close to bedtime.
9. It should go without saying, but keep away from caffeinated beverages. Did you know that caffeine can be found in chocolate, tea and even some pain relievers? Check those labels!
10. Eat lighter meals at night so indigestion doesn't keep anyone up in the house.
11. Relax with a warm bath or a good book before bedtime.
It usually takes a week after the clocks have changed for everyone, no matter what age, to be in a new sleeping pattern so try to have patience if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands for a few days.
When does daylight saving start and finish?
Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 13, and will end on Sunday, November 6, 2016.