Daylight savings time can be a mother’s worst nightmare.
On the first Sunday in November, daylight savings time officially ends, meaning we will gain back the extra hour we lost in the spring. This all sounds well and good for most people (especially when that day happens to fall on November 1st and everyone gets to party for an extra hour on Halloween night). But if you have little ones on a strict bedtime schedule, or if your mental health suffers from changes in your routine or sleep pattern, it can be a difficult time of the year to manage.
Here are a few tips on how to protect your sleep when daylight savings time ends.
Yes, it’s just an hour. For many people, it doesn’t even make a difference in their lives. But for young children, it can equal a very early morning and some trouble adjusting to the change for a few days, if not longer. This can disrupt mom’s sleep patterns as well, which is bad news if she suffers from postpartum depression or anxiety. Sleep deprivation can be a big trigger for those suffering from a mental health disorder.
If you’re worried about your sleep being disrupted, then try to prepare yourself ahead of time. Don’t over-schedule yourself the weekend that daylight savings time ends and try to get in some extra rest. If you’re concerned about your child’s sleeping habits, then consider consulting with a baby sleep training expert for advice.
Go to Bed Early
Technically the time changes at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November, but it’s a common practice to change all the clocks back before going to bed on Saturday night. If you’re normally in bed at 10 p.m., the end of daylight savings time means that you’d be going to bed at 9 p.m. instead.
While it might sound ridiculously early to you, keep in mind that you’ll be waking up an hour earlier as well. If you’re normally awake at 6 a.m., then the idea of getting out of bed at 5 a.m. might be unbearable. So while it’s tempting to stay up late and take advantage of the extra time, it’s often better to save it for the morning and sleep in for an hour instead.
Take the Weekend Off
Thankfully, daylight savings time ends on a weekend so you don’t need to worry about school or work schedules. If you can, try to limit any scheduled or time-constricted activities. It’s a great time to plan a cozy hygge weekend or a family movie marathon where you’re sure to lose track of time anyway. And who knows, maybe planning a relaxing weekend when the time changes could become a favorite family tradition!
Make the Change Gradually
There is no rule that says the hour has to be changed back all at once. One way to make the end of daylight savings time less drastic is to change the clocks in smaller increments throughout the weekend. Start by changing your clocks back in 15 minute intervals on Saturday morning and evening and then again on Sunday. The smaller the change, the less your body and mind will notice it.
Change the Clocks in the Middle of the Afternoon
Another alternative to help protect your sleep is to change the clocks back one hour in the middle of the afternoon instead of at bedtime. This is a great option, especially for children, because the afternoon hours can usually slip by quickly when we’re busy having fun. Gaining an extra hour of playtime or while watching a movie is a great way to get the most out of your day. This will also ensure less disruption to your child’s bedtime routine and help you sleep better as well.
Try to Embrace it
When it comes to daylight savings time, it’s best to just not make a big deal out of it. Worrying or focusing too much on it can cause a lot of disruption. It can cause anxiety for moms who need every bit of undisturbed sleep they can get. Knowing that daylight savings time is ending can also contribute to symptoms of depression, including seasonal affective disorder. Instead of worrying about it, try to be mindful of the time change. Pay close attention to the changes in nature and embrace the opportunity to adjust your routine for the winter season.
Prior to having children or dealing with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, you probably never thought much about daylight savings time other than being on time for something important. With most smartphones automatically updating the time, you may even completely forget about it until you wake up Sunday morning confused about what time it REALLY is. Often, we don’t experience the repercussions of the time change until after the fact. So protect your sleep this season and be ready for it!