Getting Your Family’s Sleep Schedule Back on Track after Daylight Savings

posted: 11/09/16
by: Amanda Mushro
Clock with fall leaves

Even though Daylight Savings forced all of us to turn our clocks back an hour a few days ago, everyone in your house is probably still feeling the effects. From waking up way too early, to being thrown off when it's dark before dinnertime, you might be considering a family nap around 4:00 just to make it through the day. There are tons of tips on how you can adjust schedules before Daylight Savings, but if you're like most of us that didn't prepare ahead of the time change, here's what you can do now to get everyone in your house back on track with their sleep schedule.

Work In Small Increments- Even though it only took one day to mess up the sleep schedule of everyone in your house, it will take a little time to adjust. So every few days try to have dinner and bedtime earlier by 15 minutes rather than readjusting to the new time. So if you eat dinner at 6:00, serve dinner at 5:15- which will feel like 6:15 to you and your family. Do the same for bedtime and naps. If your kids go to bed at 8:00, put them to bed at 7:15, which feels like 8:15. Then every two to three days, move the time back by 15 more minutes. This may seem like a lot of work, in just a few days, everyone should be adjusted to the new time and a lot less cranky because everyone is sleeping.

Take Control of the Lights- If you or your little ones are waking too early because of the time change, check to see how much light is getting into your bedrooms. Since light automatically turns on our internal clocks, using blackout shades can help you get those extra minutes or hours of sleep. If you wake up too early, stay in your dark bedroom and be sure not to turn on your lights or look at your phone or tablet. The light from both will wake you up and keep you from falling back to sleep.

For older kids waking up too early, try putting a digital clock in their room. If they are too young to read a clock, cover up the minutes with tape and give them a number they must see on their clock before they can get out of bed. So if you don't want them out of bed before 7AM, let them know they must see a 7 on the clock before they can get up for the morning.

Be Careful of Naps- While napping babies are a wonderful thing, naps for adults might ruin your sleep at night. Sleep experts suggest short 15-20 minutes naps or rest session's to get you through these first few days of transition, but anything beyond this time could affect your sleep at night. So that puts you right back where you are now, sleepy!