I always look forward to Daylight Savings in the fall. It totally makes up for losing an hour in the spring and shorter nights in the summer. Although the longer days of summer are nice, I’m usually ready to wind down once the cooler weather starts. We actually lose an hour in the fall, but we get more sleep in the long run as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. This translates into earlier bed time for kids and more rest for moms. Yes, please. It’s like an early Christmas present!
Even though having more sleep is wonderful, the time change can cause a disruption to the internal clocks known as our circadian rhythm. This body clock tells us when to sleep, rise, and eat. It regulates our whole day, and it’s affected by environmental cues like sunlight. When our circadian rhythms are altered just a little bit, it can throw off our whole routine. We function best with consistency, and our kids are even more sensitive to changes in routine. This can mean more moodiness, wreaking havoc in what used to be a calm house.
You can take Daylight Savings this fall to your advantage and help everyone transition smoothly. As the sun goes down earlier, our bodies start to wind down and relax in preparation for sleep. The darkness triggers our bodies to release melatonin, a hormone that helps maintain regular sleep patterns, and we naturally start to slow down at the end of the day. This means the kids will also (hopefully) start to feel tired as the sun goes down earlier and you can get them in bed at an earlier time. Moms can have a much-needed longer evening for that extra TV show, glass of wine, or peaceful sleep. If you can achieve this, then you can avoid some of the mood changes that occur with daylight savings. It may also help to prevent the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression.
TIPS FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TRANSITION
- Maintain your nighttime and sleep routine. Keep a quiet and calm environment to prep for sleep. Avoid a lot of sugar or caffeine that can interfere with sleep. Dim the lights and take a warm bath or shower. Eliminate screen time and turn off the phone, tablet, or TV. Keeping your brain stimulated can make it hard to sleep.
- Maintain normal meal times to stay in routine. We know that kids rely on routine, so make sure meals are served at the same times of day regardless of the amount of sunlight outside.
- Wake up at your regular time. It will start getting brighter earlier. You can maintain your regular wake up time by using blackout curtains or closing the blinds to keep the room dark. This will signal your brain that it’s still time for sleep so you will be more rested when you get up.
- Eat a healthy breakfast so your body knows the day has begun. It also helps you get a good start to your day so you have energy to tackle everything.
- Go for a walk. This exposes you to sunlight and helps adjust your body clock. It’s also good to get moving as this also prevents depression in the winter months.