October sees the return of Daylight Savings, and you’ll either embrace it or groan. Glorious extra daylight to get stuff done…hooray!
Christmas is less than three months away and if celebrations are in your house or garden, that usually means lots of tasks to be completed for that once only special day. I know my garden is overflowing with weeds, after a very wet season!
Lets face it, you get so much more work done without the kids underfoot!
If you’re are a parent though, your extra kid-free time can be a mere dream because for many families daylight savings time means extra hard work at getting the kids to sleep, and keeping them that way!
As a sleep consultant, I hear so many issues about sleep and one that is a consistent topic of conversation is routine.
Most parents have great routines in place, but many schedule way too much into their baby or toddlers pre-bed time. Your child’s need for sleep and the cues they give can be very subtle; miss those and you are likely left with a child that cannot fall asleep, or falls asleep too quickly and wakes frequently overnight.
Sleep debt, when you just aren’t getting enough sleep hours, makes it very difficult to relax deeply and consistently.
Plan for consistency and limit late nights
Daylight savings can really be a huge issue, and some parents ‘hate’ it!
Delays in starting the bedtime routine, and lots of interruptions (more daylight means busier households) can take its toll but with a few tips and a little bit of effort on your part, you should find no real issues for settling and keeping kids in bed and asleep through the night over the longer days of Summer.
Good blackout covering on windows is essential. Bright light prevents the sleepy hormone, melatonin, from being released so the sleep cues just wont happen when you want them to happen.
2. A calming influence
Start making the rooms that are pre-bedtime spaces darker. Your toddler will definitely resist if he sees older siblings or family playing in the great outdoors!
3. Quiet time
Check that you have created a quiet zone in the lead up to bed. Winding down time is very important to getting your little ones calmer.
The most important is ROUTINE – try not to alter what was working for your family over the winter and darker months.
5. Be consistent
This is the one that is most likely affected, and when your good intentions keep being undermined by other things that crop up, sleep debt is sure to occur. Make getting the kids to sleep your priority. Bedtime is the same every night…it allows you some evening free kid time and when your child wakes refreshed, so do you!
Avoiding sleep debt is not just for kids
Be sure not to burn the candle at both ends too many times over the Summer. Sleep debt will catch up with you, too!
Researchers found that heart attacks occurred 10% more often and accidents 7% more often within the first two days of daylight savings time. Scientists concluded that this was a result of a lack of sleep on the first night that was never recovered. Too little sleep is detrimental to health.
See the cycle? One bad night can lead to many more and next thing you know is you have chronic sleep deprivation.
So make sure you don’t spend too many hours awake, especially if lost hours cannot be made up with a sleep in. You have kids, right?
How are you going with managing daylight savings and bed times? Share with us below.