8 ways to get a good night’s sleep while springing ahead

March 07, 2016 | by Siva Krishnan, MD
It’s not as nice as gaining an hour by setting our clocks back in the fall, but the switch to Daylight Saving Time does have one positive angle: it means the dark days of winter are almost over!

Adults know the drill: set your clocks ahead an hour when you go to bed Saturday, then spend the next several mornings adjusting to an earlier wake-up time.

If you’re concerned about your kids sleeping in when it’s time to get ready for school on Monday morning, there are some things you can try to help them adjust to the change—before it happens:

  • Put your child to bed 15 minutes earlier on the Wednesday before the time change. Thursday night, move bedtime back another 15 minutes. By Saturday night, your child will be in bed a full hour earlier, which could make waking up easier.
  • If your child has trouble sleeping with daylight streaming into the bedroom, close the shades tight at bedtime or put up black-out shades. In the morning, let the natural light into the room to help them wake up.
  • Make the Saturday before the clocks spring ahead an active, busy one. Get your little ones tired out so they fall asleep soon after their heads hit their pillows.

Transitions often take time to become routine, so be patient if your kiddos struggle a bit with the time change. Even with all the preparation in the world, we adults can still feel a little groggy those first few mornings of Daylight Saving Time!

By the way, how are you sleeping in general? If you struggle to get to sleep (adults should get seven to nine hours each night), you might want to try these tips:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends. To help yourself adjust to the DST change, try going to bed a bit earlier a night or two before the clocks change.
  • Hit the sack at a time that allows for seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.
  • Avoid caffeine for four hours and big meals and alcohol for two hours before lights out.
  • Don't exercise strenuously within 90 minutes of bedtime.
  • Keep TV, computers and other distractions out of the bedroom.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom around 72 degrees.
  • If you're sensitive to light, consider using black-out shades on your windows, and if noise disturbs you, try ear plugs.
  • Talk with your doctor if you experience at least a month of sleep problems, such as snoring, daytime sleepiness, or insomnia—especially if you are obese or have cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Do you have a tactic that helps you adjust to Daylight Saving Time or a foolproof bedtime ritual? Please share your expertise in the comments below!

Do you have a sleep disorder, or are you at risk of developing one? Find out in minutes with our free, online Sleep Aware test.

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