Here comes another time change!

Clock on autumn leaves with reminder to fall back on Sunday November 6th

We all grumble when it’s time to change between Daylight Savings and Standard time. And despite the ongoing debate about whether we really need to keep doing this and why we are still doing this, in the Pacific Northwest, we are still changing clocks twice a year. It’s time for a time change again this weekend. 

We’ll officially fall back in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Nov 6th. If you’re like me, sometime in the afternoon or evening of November 5th, all the clocks will get moved back an hour. 

Changing the clocks doesn’t change our biorhythm, though. So changing the clocks always throws us off a little bit. For babies and toddlers, that one-hour difference can really disrupt their routine.

While the autumn time change actually adds an hour to the day, it can throw off wake times and impact meal times. Babies who went to sleep at their usual bedtime the night before are likely to wake up “earlier” than usual the next morning. Earlier rising can mean a very early breakfast and possibly affect lunchtime, naps, and dinnertime.

We all need a good night’s sleep. The benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep have been well documented. When we don’t get enough sleep, says Healthline.com, we are irritable, feel tired, and yawn frequently. If sleep deprivation goes on for long time, it can cause impulsive behavior, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

While we all steel ourselves for some rough days immediately after the time change, there are some ways to help our families adjust.

How do we help ease the transition? 

Our goal is to make sure everyone is getting enough sleep despite messing with the clocks. Not only do we want our kids to get to bed – and stay in bed – for a good night’s sleep, but we also need a good night’s sleep ourselves to stay healthy and parent well.

The week leading up to the time change is a good time to brush up on healthy sleep habits. For optimal nighttime sleep, get out in the fresh air and natural daylight each day, exercise, take time to relax and de-stress in the evening, and avoid the blue-light glow of screens in the hours before bed. 

We can also make sure bedrooms are conducive to sleeping. The CDC advises that the best environment for sleeping is very dark, quiet, and cool. 

More tips to manage time change week

A few years ago, Esther Schiedel offered some great tips for managing the time change in a post on our blog. Here’s what she suggests:

Start now by moving bedtime a little bit each night.

Some people recommend simultaneously waking up earlier as well. I’d suggest NOT doing that or at least not doing that until closer to Sunday. My rationale is that it’s better to get as much sleep as you can in advance of the change. Many of us are already short on sleep. See waking-up strategies below.

Practice healthy sleep habits.

Shift meal schedules gradually as well (if possible) If you can’t move meals try to incorporate more snacks (healthy ones and maybe some high tryptophan foods for dinner and bedtime snacks). See this article from the National Sleep Foundation.

NO CAFFEINE!

One hour before you want to get to sleep: No screens. No full-spectrum, LED, or fluorescent lights. Use a yellow, amber, or red bulb for reading (see How Blue Light Affects Kids & Sleep). 

Change your clock during the day on Saturday (if at all possible).

Waking up. Just as light interferes with going to sleep, it helps us wake up. Gradually increasing the light in the morning will help you (and the kids) wake up. 

Make morning a pleasant time: snuggling, talking, and reading with your child can make for a happier transition. Breakfast in bed anyone? Allow enough time for morning routines.

The real key to happy waking up is getting enough sleep the night before. Most of us don’t get enough sleep so this is a good time to focus on more sleep.

Start preparing for the time change now, and maybe you can take a little of the edge off! Let us know how it goes.