Daylight savings ends November 7, which means we gain an hour (yay!). But that hour we “spring ahead” in spring or “fall back” in autumn does impact your kids’ (and your own) sleep rhythms. It may be just one hour, but the effects on sleep-wake patterns may last five to seven days, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Here’s what you can do to help everyone ease into the time change:
ESTABLISH A BEDTIME ROUTINE
Get everyone in the habit of winding down for the day with simple steps such as listening to music or stories, and shutting down screens including TVs, computers and smartphones an hour before bedtime (we know it’s hard to enforce but stay strong). These devices disrupt sleep regulating hormones, making it harder to fall asleep.
CREATE A RESTFUL SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Keep phone charging stations out of your kids’ bedrooms so there’s no temptation or blinking light to interfere with sleep. Bedrooms should be cool, dark and quiet. If necessary, use a white noise machine to drown out any street or household noise.
ADJUST BEDTIMES GRADUALLY
Beginning a few days before the scheduled time change, shift your child’s bedtime 15 or 20 minutes later each day. And though it’s tempting—especially if you have teenagers—don’t let your kid sleep in on weekends more than an hour past their usual wakeup time, which also can shift your child’s sleep-wake cycle.
Light drives our circadian rhythms, so get outside with your kids on the days after the time change to help your internal clocks adjust to the new timing of light and dark. A brisk walk, a few minutes of play, or even sitting by a bright window in