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Spring Forward to Better Sleep: Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

14th March, 2023 | Published by Saltzer Health

Reading bedtime story to little girl

As we spring forward and set our clocks ahead by an hour for Daylight Saving Time, it can be challenging for both adults and children to adjust to the new schedule. The time change may lead to a temporary loss of sleep that can affect our health, mood, and ability to concentrate. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with some helpful tips and advice to ensure your child’s sleep health is maintained during this transition period.

Importance of Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in our overall health and well-being. Children require more sleep than adults to support their physical and mental development. Lack of sleep can lead to a host of problems, including difficulty concentrating, impaired learning, and behavior issues.

Impact of Time Change on Sleep

The springtime change in clocks can disrupt a child’s sleep schedule, leading to symptoms similar to jet lag. The sudden change in sleep routine can leave children feeling groggy, tired, and irritable.

Dr. Mark Rasmus, a care provider with Saltzer Health, emphasizes the importance of a good sleep routine for children. He warns that when children are sleep deprived, they may not voice any concerns, but instead, they may manifest behaviors we may not like to see. A lack of sleep can impact children in a wide variety of ways. They may have difficulty focusing, concentrating, and applying themselves to one task at a time. A lack of sleep may also impact children beyond the classroom, leading to higher levels of depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior.

Sleep Tips for Parents

To help your child adjust to the time change, here are some tips and advice.

  1. Gradual Transition: Start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule a few days before the time change. Gradually move bedtime and wake-up times ahead by 15-30 minutes each day until you reach the desired schedule. This can help the body adjust to the new schedule more naturally.
  2. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Create a sleep-friendly environment in your child’s bedroom by keeping the room cool, quiet, and dark. Avoid the use of electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones before bedtime as they emit blue light, which can interfere with sleep.
  3. Establish a Bedtime Routine: Establish a consistent bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities such as reading, listening to music, or taking a warm bath. A consistent routine can signal to the body that it’s time to sleep.
  4. Avoid Stimulants: Avoid giving your child caffeine or other stimulants before bedtime. These can interfere with sleep and make it more challenging for your child to fall asleep.
  5. Be Consistent: Stick to the same sleep schedule on weekends and holidays as you do during the week. This consistency can help your child maintain a healthy sleep routine.

The springtime change in clocks can disrupt your child’s sleep schedule, but with these tips and advice, you can help your child adjust to the new schedule more naturally. Remember, a good sleep routine is critical to your child’s success in the classroom and beyond. By providing your child with the proper sleep environment and consistent routine, you can help them stay healthy, focused, and energized throughout the year.

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