Adjusting for daylight saving is easier than you think

by | Sep 21, 2021 | Adults, baby sleep, Bedtime, Naps, parenting, School children, Toddlers

Adjusting for daylight saving is easier than you think

This weekend we’re more likely to see a spike in car crashes, strokes, heart attacks, depressive episodes and even IBS. This happens every time daylight saving starts due to the sleep deprivation brought on by missing an hour overnight. But don’t panic, adjusting for daylight saving is easier than you think.

Although, the one-hour daylight saving change is enough to mess with your body clock and metabolic processes, there is a trick to surviving the change. Without doing this, it can feel like jetlag (it’s the equivalent of jumping one time zone after all). Read on to help minimise the negative impact.

Parents get a double whammy

If you’re a parent, you get a double whammy. Not only is your own body clock affected by the missing hour when the clocks suddenly change from 2am to 3am, but your child is too. And while there are some benefits to “springing forward” (especially if you have early risers) – it always pays to have a plan to minimise the negative impact.

Splitting the difference

My favourite combat plan starts AFTER the daylight-saving change. Unless you need to work on Sunday, don’t even bother looking at the clocks before breakfast. Missing an hour during the day is often easier than missing it overnight!

For children and adults on a regular clock-based schedule, I recommend splitting the difference for daylight saving.

This approach is suited for sleeps occurring at the same time each day. It starts on Sunday Night for older (non-napping) children and adults. And for the first nap of the day on Sunday for younger ones. Feel free to save this “spring forward” calendar if it helps.

NAPTIME: On Sunday put your child to bed 30 minutes later for each nap, using the new time, (which feels like 30 minutes earlier in the old time). So a 10am nap will now happen at 10.30am new clock time. Then on Wednesday, revert back to old nap timings again.

BEDTIME: If your child usually goes to bed at 7pm, then put him to bed at 7:30pm (new time) from Sunday night. (This will FEEL like 6:30pm to your child.). On the fourth night (Wednesday), just get in line with the new time so your child is going to bed when the clock says 7 pm again.

This will mean that you or your child are going to bed a little earlier than usual according to their body clock, but it’s a smaller change, and not enough to interfere with their schedule much. It may take them a little longer to fall asleep since they may not be as tired; but in a week’s time (possibly two) they will be back on track again.

To make it easier to fall asleep earlier for daylight saving, you can increase activity that day to help. The more we do, physically or mentally, the more tired we feel – but don’t overdo it – overtired makes it harder to go to sleep!

But wait there’s more

Not convinced this plan will work for you? You’re right to think there is no one-size-fits-all solution for sleep issues, and that goes for daylight saving options too. Daylight Saving Time isn’t new, and neither is my sleep business. I’ve written about this before, and you can read more options on adjusting for daylight saving here.

The most important thing is being aware that time changes mess with our body clocks and can have dire consequences, especially if you’re already sleep deprived due to sleep debt. But make it easy on yourself and start adjusting for daylight saving AFTER the fact.

What adjustments will you be making to survive this weekend’s clock change? If you haven’t already tried adjusting AFTER the fact, will you give it a go? Let me know how you get on.

And if you’d like to know more about solving sleep issues and how I can help, book a free initial sleep evaluation via my website.  www.cherishedsleep.co.nz

Stay safe out there and sleep well!

Further references:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2019.00103/full

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001457517304256