I like to think of myself as a planner. Since becoming a mother, some of those planner skills have vanished. But in my mind, my life is still organized, despite the mess it is in reality. When you have a kid, they don’t understand the time change. I usually try to prep my 3 year old Finn by moving forward (or back) his bedtime in 15 minute increments the week before the time change. This past fall, I got completely confused and instead of moving his bedtime back (as I should have,) I moved it forward. So on Sunday morning, he was 2 hours ahead instead of the typical 1 hour. So this time around, I’m skipping the planning and we’ll just deal with whatever mess we wake up to Sunday morning. (Or maybe I’ll send him to the grandparents’ house and let them deal with it!)
But I also go to bed super early. Probably earlier than your kids do. I’m typically in bed around 7:30pm and asleep no later than 8pm. When you wake up at 4am, you have to make major adjustments to your life. So as we get closer to summer, I’ll be falling asleep when it’s still light out, which doesn’t seem right. But I could get over that, if we could do away with this time change thing all together and stay in (or out) of Daylight Saving Time for good.
Whether we like it or not, Daylight Saving Time is coming – this weekend. So let’s make the most of it. Here are some recommendations to reduce those fatigue effects (from Vanderbilt University Medical Center):
- Plan for it. “Try to go to bed earlier – maybe 15 minutes earlier each day in the week prior to the time change. Then when it comes to the weekend, your internal clock is already shifted to an earlier sleep and wake-up time.”
- Stick to your normal weekday bedtime and wake time. This keeps the internal clock in its typical rhythm.
- Expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. “The sun is a very potent synchronizer. There are direct neural pathways for light that enters the retina to a structure in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which syncs the clock every day.”
As a big fan of sleep, I’ll throw in these additional recommendations for general good sleep year round (also from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center).
- Establish a relaxing pre-sleep ritual, such as taking a bath, reading or listening to calm music.
- Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid the bright lights and stimulation of TVs, computers and other electronics before bed.
- Avoid large meals and caffeine before bed.
- Exercise earlier in the day, not right before bed.
- Keep the same bedtime and wake time each day, even on weekends.
Here’s hoping we catch at least a few zzzzz’s this weekend, and to saving some daylight!