For many parents, keeping your child on a set sleep schedule is one of the best ways to maintain some level of peace and sanity in your home. At best, your kid goes to bed at a set time every night and wakes up more or less refreshed each morning. Twice a year, however, daylight savings time crops up and throws a wrench into your careful bedtime plans. But what daylight saving time does to your kid's body, and how can you combat the affect and ease the transition.
When daylight saving time first kicks into place in the springtime, you and your kid have to deal with the realities of losing an hour of sleep. Although this may not sound dramatic, anyone who has tried to slog through a day or two after the time change knows it can seriously affect your concentration and mood. The same goes for kids: an hour's loss of sleep can be quite a shock to your kid, as noted in Sleep Apnea.org. In fact, Sleep Review magazine noted that sleep deprivation in children has been linked to poor cognitive performances, decreased athletic abilities, and even hampered impulse control. Basically? It's pretty bad news.
Although you're allegedly gaining an hour of sleep when daylight saving time ends in the autumn months, any changes can screw with your child's sleep schedule. What's more, most people don't necessarily gain an extra hour of sleep, because it's common to have trouble adjusting to the new normal time, as noted by Harvard Health Publications. So whichever way the clock swings, your kids are likely to suffer the same effects of sleep deprivation.
So although adults can muddle through the time changes by adjusting clocks and sleep schedules ahead of time, your kids' internal clocks can't be changed as easily. In fact, many children's circadian rhythms will tell them to wake up an hour early, as explained by the Baby Sleep Site. This can go on to mess up your kid's nap time and their overall sleep schedule. However, you and your kids do not have to be at the mercy of the clock changes. You can help adjust your baby's sleep schedule for daylight saving time, and your older kids can learn to adapt to daylight saving time as well. Hopefully, both you and your family will be able to rest easy in no time.