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Spring Forward! Helping Your Kids Adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

We set our clocks forward one hour on March 11th 2018 at 2A.M. for Daylight Saving Time. This change will give us another hour of sunlight in the evening.  Most of us welcome that extra hour of sunlight, and the feeling that spring is finally here!  The downside to the change is how it can interfere with our children’s sleep schedules. After moving the clock ahead one hour, young children who had a bedtime at around 7 or 8 PM when it is dark, may now be going to bed while it is still light.  Adults can easily adjust to the new time, but it may be more difficult for children.  For children, especially if they are not getting enough sleep already, making the adjustment to Daylight Saving Time is important.

Here are things you can do to get your kids ready for the change.

Gradually get your child ready for the time change.

Before Daylight Saving Time begins, you can put your child to bed 15 minutes earlier for a few days. By the time the clock moves forward your child will already be used to the new earlier time.

If you didn’t gradually change bedtimes you can wake your child up an hour earlier on the day before Daylight Saving Time begins. Your child will be sleepier that night and you can put them to bed an hour earlier. That way there is no lost hour of sleep and you wake your child up at their usual time, according to their internal clock.

As always, your child should develop good daily habits to sleep well and maintain healthy growth and development, both physically and mentally.

Try these tips for good sleep habits every night.

  • Keep a routine bedtime and wake time: Try to put your kids to bed and get them up at the same time each day. This helps maintain their circadian rhythm or body clock.
  • Have a bedtime ritual: Try a bath, pajamas, brushing teeth and a few pages from a book or telling a story. Your child will come to expect the routine and breeze through bedtime every night.
  • Make the room comfortable: Keep the room cool, quiet and dark. If your child needs a night light choose an amber-colored light. Blue lights tend to signal the brain to wake
  • Limit electronic use. Limit computer, cell phone, and TV use at least one hour before bed. The light emitted from these screens can stimulate the brain and interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Set an example:   Set a good example as a parent and follow good sleep habits yourself. Make sleep a priority, you may find that you get better sleep and feel healthier too! 

Mary Duesterhaus, RPSGT,REEGT,CRT Clinical Coordinator Neurodiagnostics-Hannibal Regional Hospital- Sleep Services



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