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Spring Forward: Tools to adjusting to Daylight Saving Time

3/4/2013
On Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. clocks are turned forward 1 hour so here are some quick tips for a successful transition to daylight saving time for Adults and Children
 
Children:
 
Preschool children are usually early birds, and are probably the first ones up in your house. They usually do not have a problem with daylight savings time. However, school age children and teens can find the earlier wake up time very difficult. Here are some things you can do to help them adjust:
  

·         Get your children up 15-30 minuets earlier than usual for at least a week before daylight savings time. If you get them up earlier in the morning, it may be easier for them to fall asleep earlier that night.

·         No naps for school age children or teens.

·         Give your children time to "wind down" in the evening. Avoid "rough-housing" and other active play one hour before bedtime, and this can make it harder for children to sleep.
If you have siblings that get rambunctious and silly before bed, consider separating them, and give each child some quiet individual time.

·         Turn off computers, video games, and TV at least 1 hour before bedtime. If your teenager has a cell phone, you may need to take it away at night. Remember, the more your teen objects, the more likely she is to need you to step in and stop the night time texting.

·         Avoid letting children sleep-in on weekends.  

·         Avoid giving your children "energy drinks" as these frequently contain caffeine.
 
Adults:
 
Adults typically rely on alarm clocks to wake up. They have schedules to keep, and no longer have the opportunity to wake and sleep with the sun’s schedule. They are forced to rise and shine and need time to adjust. Here are some of my tips that may help:

 

·         Give yourself a jump start too: In the days leading up to daylight savings adults can move up their bedtimes and wake times by 15-30 minutes. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier each day progressing up to a maximum of 1 hour a week prior to the change.

·         Light exposure: The sun’s rays are a powerful tool to help reset your internal body clock. Once awake open up the blinds and let as much sunlight in as you can. If you’re getting up earlier turn on some bright lights if the sun is not out yet. Bedtime is just the opposite avoid bright lights in the house including computer screens as this will only prolong your new 1 hour earlier bedtime.

·         Exercise: Try and get your physical exercise done before 4 or 5 pm, late evening exercise will prolong your bedtime.

·         Naps’ don’t do it: This will only disrupt your new sleep routine; most children after 5 or 6 don’t nap. Naps in adults can be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder or lack of a consolidated sleep pattern.

·         Give it time:  Adjusting to daylight saving time generally takes a few days to a week to fully adjust; there are Circadian rhythms and metabolic hormones – including insulin – that are affected by the day/night cycle changes. Remember to keep to the same schedule on weekends.

·         If all else fails: There is always a quick cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage to get you going if you’re an adult. Just remember caffeine should be avoided before bedtime by at least 6 hours. Caffeine is a powerful drug not regulated by the FDA for now but due to recent overdoses of certain energy drinks we might see some type of FDA caffeine regulations in the future..

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