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As we've recently sprung forward with Daylight Saving Time, many of us may be struggling to adjust our sleep schedules and regain our healthy, consistent sleep patterns. If you're part of that group, you should know that you are not alone. Orange County Mattress aims to help our customers navigate this challenging time, and we’ve turned to the expertise of Rebecca Nazzal, M.S. PPS, Certified Sleep Sense™ Coach and Certified Solve Your Sleep™ Coach. In this blog post, we'll explore Rebecca's experience and the benefits she can offer to those who struggle with healthy, consistent sleep.
A Bit About Sleep Coach, Rebecca Nazzal
First, let's get to know Rebecca Nazzal a little better. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Social Behavior, as well as a Master's degree in School Psychology, Rebecca possesses a unique and encompassing perspective on sleep difficulties. Her certifications as a Sleep Sense™ Coach and Solve Your Sleep™ Coach provide her with in-depth knowledge and tools to help individuals of all ages achieve restful, consistent sleep. Read her personal bio at the end of her article below:
Tips for Adjusting to Daylight Saving Time
Advice from Rebecca Nazzal, Certified Solve Your Sleep ™ Coach
An extra hour of sleep…for everyone other than parents of small children.
Oh, how I dislike Daylight Saving Time and adjusting the clock! Our little ones do not understand that their days have suddenly changed by a whole hour, and it does nothing but make us parents feel stressed about how our kiddos will react. I get a TON of questions asking for the best way to handle daylight savings time and children’s sleep. So here are my most simple answers for you.
Transition Infants and Toddlers Gradually
For infants and toddlers, it is usually best to make small increments over a few days to help give them time to adjust to the new normal. Although many adults don’t like “losing an hour of sleep” in the spring when clocks move forward, this change can actually be a little easier for babies and younger toddlers to adapt to since mornings will naturally start later, and the day’s schedule will be easier to control for parents. Following these tips will help make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible:
- Ignore it …. at first. Your best bet on the first day? Pretend DST (Daylight Saving Time) doesn’t exist! Don’t do anything the night before and put your little one to bed at the same time as always.
- Set the clocks forward AFTER you have started your day. Don’t worry too much if your little one wakes up ‘late’ because the time has changed. Get them up and go about your day as usual. Set your clocks forward when you’re up and going.
- Split the difference. After you’ve set the clock forward, move naptimes and bedtime back by half an hour. If your little one’s bedtime was 7:00 pm before DST, move it to 7:30 pm. Do this for the next 4 days to gradually adapt to the time change.
- Back on Track. Staring at bedtime on the 5th night, go back to your regularly-scheduled times--bedtime and naptimes. By now, your little one should be used to the time change, so it’s time to get back on track with your usual sleep routine.
- Be patient. No matter how you prepare, chances are the first few days will be tough. Be prepared for early wake-ups or nighttime crankiness or shorter naps as body clocks adjust--this means you as well as your baby. Be patient and consistent. Chances are, you’ll all adapt within a week.
How to Transition Kids Who Can’t Be Transitioned Gradually
When we change up our babies’ sleep schedules to account for the semiannual time change, sleep experts like myself typically recommend shifting their schedule forward or backwards incrementally for a couple of weeks leading up to the actual event. It eases the adjustment if their bedtime and wakeup time are only modified slightly every few days. However, when we’re dealing with kids who are older and/or in daycare, school, or otherwise have a set schedule, it can’t be tweaked as gradually and easily as explained above. So, what options do you have when the plan to slowly and steadily make incremental changes goes out the window?
- Get them outdoors. Sunlight and exercise are two of the biggest contributors to a good night’s sleep. Exercise obviously helps to burn off energy and gets the body ready for bedtime, but the sun also plays a very interesting role here. Blue light, during the day, helps immensely in melatonin production, which is the magical elixir when it comes to sleep. It also helps to regulate our internal clocks, which naturally produce cortisol during the day for energy and alertness, and melatonin when it gets dark to facilitate sleep. And the sun, despite its appearance, is the mother of all blue light sources. Getting your little one a good dose of sunlight during the day will work wonders in helping them get to sleep on the first night of the time change.
- Change bedtime incrementally. Even though your child may have to get up at the same time in the morning, you may still be able to make gradual changes around bedtime. Moving their bedtime either forward or back, depending on which way the clocks are changing, by 15 minutes every two or three nights after the time change, can lessen the effect it has on their schedule compared to a one-hour switch overnight. Keep in mind that overtiredness is the nemesis of good sleep, so whatever you do, don’t just keep them up for an extra hour the night before the clocks go forward. Always error on the side of more sleep. If they wake up a little early in the morning, that’s OK, and preferable to them staying awake for too long at night.
- Routine, routine, routine. I know I’ve probably said it hundreds of times, but that bedtime routine that you’ve carefully created is still one of the most effective tools in the sleep toolbox. It does so much more than just getting your child into their PJs with their teeth brushed. When a bedtime routine is done repeatedly in the same order, night in and night out, the first step of the routine signals the brain that bedtime is imminent, which starts the release of melatonin and shuts off the cortisol, so by the time your child lays their head on the pillow, they’re already primed for a great night’s sleep. So avoid the temptation to modify the routine in order to accommodate any shifts in the schedule. However long your little one’s bedtime routine typically takes, get it started precisely that long before you want them tucked in to get to sleep. Whatever changes you need to make to the schedule to fit the time change in, do it elsewhere in the day and keep the bedtime routine intact.
- Be consistent. Ideally, your little one will slide right into the adapted schedule, but it’s just as likely that they’ll need about a week for everything to fall back into place. Be patient, stick to your guns, and don’t make any changes to the status quo. They’ll get into the groove a lot quicker if there are no other modifications around their bedtime and sleep habits.
And there you have it. One of the most frustrating, bothersome, illogical and (hopefully sometime in the future) unnecessary things that effects our superstar sleepers broken down as easy as I can make it. In all reality, there is not really a perfect answer that will work for every child and family but hope that these steps will give you a better understanding of what to do when everyone “Springs Forward” soon. Don’t forget to apply the tips and steps and information to your own sleep as well!
Discover Sleep Products and Strategies That Work for You!
Adapting to the time change during Daylight Saving Time is a challenge that can be easily overcome with the right guidance, tools, and sleep products. With Rebecca Nazzal's expertise as a Certified Sleep Sense™ Coach and Certified Solve Your Sleep™ Coach, OC Mattress customers can confidently navigate the road to healthier, more consistent sleep. Take the crucial step towards improved sleep and overall well-being by reaching out to Rebecca and exploring the comprehensive services and sleep products on offer at www.DreamBigSleep.com or give her a call at (949) 272-0725. Remember, a good night's sleep is the foundation of a better tomorrow!
Bio: Rebecca Nazzal, M.S. PPS, Certified Solve Your Sleep ™ Coach
"As a mother of two, I truly understand what sleep deprivation can do in just a short amount of time. Not only have I seen it in myself, but also my own husband and kids, other family, and close friends here in my community. Yes, my sleep consulting journey started with my own first born and our cluelessness around baby sleep. There were countless words of advice from friends and families, books read with such fatigue that the information didn’t sink in, and long nights spent searching the vast abyss of information on the internet.
Since that time, I have grown so much as a parent, partner, and professional. It is my passion to ensure that everyone I work with can succeed in tackling these challenges. I am able to develop the RIGHT solution for you; drawing on my psychology background, behavioral modification techniques, multiple certifications, and vast experience. I work hard to make sure everything is customized to the client and family; this is not only in regards to sleep strategies but also overall schedules, behavior modification, and even the style of communication and support with me. This personalized approach even extends beyond infant/child sleep training into solutions for older children, adolescents and even adults; it's not like sleep struggles just magically stop happening after the age of 5. I can ultimately ensure sleep improvement with my consultation packages and support services for dreamers of all ages."
Rebecca Nazzal, M.S. PPS
Certified Sleep Sense ™ Coach
Certified Solve Your Sleep ™ Coach