A Parent’s Guide to Time Changes and Better Sleep

Oct 25, 2023 | Children's Health

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Until the law changes, our clocks will keep changing twice a year from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time and back again.

Those changes can temporarily disrupt children’s — and parents’ — sleep schedules. Melissa Eddy-Shelby, MD, pediatrician at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Pediatrics at Zachary, shares some tips to help adjust around the time changes.

Fall Back

The end of Daylight Saving Time offers a temporary reprieve in an additional hour of sleep. But the change is still disruptive. 

  1. Adjust your child’s bedtime over a few days prior to the time change: Shift mealtime and bedtime 15 minutes later than usual, but keep your bedtime routine.
  2. Control the lighting in the house: To help prevent the family from getting tired too early, keep the house well-lit with lights. When the environment is lit up, it keeps us awake, and when it is dim or dark, we get relaxed and ready for sleeping.
  3. Create the perfect sleeping environment for your child: Keep their room cool, dark and comfortable. Use blackout shades or curtains and try to limit technology in the bedrooms.
  4. Continue to keep your children’s meal, snacks and nap routines the same. If they wake up early and want breakfast early, have them wait. This will help them get use to the time change.

Spring Forward

Losing an extra hour of sleep during the start of Daylight Saving Time definitely feels like the harder adjustment. Use these tips to make it through:

  1. Limit your caffeine intake and drink more water.
  2. Stick to your schedule, be consistent with eating, sleeping and exercising.
  3. Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bed — this is good advice in general. 
  4. Get more exposure to sunlight in the mornings. Although school schedules may make it difficult, try taking a walk in the morning when you can.

Time changes may be a constant on our calendar, but with this advice, families can navigate the changes with ease. 

Listen to ParentingU for More Tips on Sleep Routines

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