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Spring Ahead Without Losing Sleep!

It’s almost time to “Spring Ahead,” with the start of daylight saving time. This is when we “lose an hour of sleep.” It seems that more and more people are griping on daylight saving time, and I get it, anytime we are faced with change, things can be tough or annoying to adjust.

But as long as you plan accordingly, this time change shouldn’t break you! 

First of all, if you are here as a parent, the whole “spring ahead”- lose an hour of sleep, “fall back”- gain an hour of sleep, doesn’t really apply to you! (If you’re a new parent.. You’ll discover this soon enough!) In the fall when we “gain” an hour of sleep, our little ones, who don’t wake up by an alarm clock, rather wake up by their natural, internal clock, never seem to get that message.

Because why would they, it’s completely random and not natural!

So here you are thinking,

“Yes, when my clock should be saying 6 o’clock tomorrow morning, it will actually say 5 and I’ll just roll over and go back to bed for an hour.”

Enter your little one saying

“Mommmmmmmmy it’s time to get up!”

And now your clock says 5 o’clock, and wait how did you wind up losing an hour even though everyone said you should really be gaining an hour?! Now bedtime is all out of whack that night because your little one is falling asleep at the dinner table but you’re not ready for bedtime, you still have to do bath time and get ready for the week ahead. And then Monday morning comes and your little one is up at 5am again! Wahhhh… 

But as you’re reading this blog for spring daylight saving time, it’s probably March, and that’s not what we’re dealing with this coming weekend. This time is “Spring Ahead,” the start of daylight saving time and you’re supposed to be losing an hour of sleep. 

So you wake up on Sunday morning and look at your clock and it reads 6am, but you’re exhausted because it’s actually 5am and you really don’t want to get up yet because you stayed up late last night binging Netflix and now you only have  5 hours of sleep under your belt. But wait a minute! Where are those little puppy dog eyes begging you to get up with them and start the day? Your little one’s body still thinks that it’s 5am!! So they aren’t up yet! Wait, so you can go back to sleep?! YES!  

Ok so what I’m going to recommend here is that we take this Spring Ahead, and NOT lose an hour of sleep, rather lose an hour of doing ‘something else’ instead!

And yes, while it’s not ideal to sleep in on the weekends, losing and hour of sleep is not ideal either!

This Sunday, the start of daylight saving time, I’m recommending you do three things.

Number one, don’t make any plans for early Sunday morning. Wake up at the “time” you usually would. So if your alarm usually is set for 6am (or, more likely, when your little one wakes you up) still wake up at that time, when the clock reads 7am. If you have lunch plans at 12, you’ll have less time to get ready, but you’ll still have your full night sleep that you needed from Saturday into Sunday. 

Number two, spend as much time as possible outside on Sunday. Being exposed to the natural light outside will help regulate your body to the new clock time. If the weather’s rainy and gray, still try to get out in the morning to jump-start your day after ‘sleeping in.’ If the weather’s freezing, bundle up and enjoy the sunshine. Then later you can warm up inside with some hot cocoa and a fire. 

Number three, (and this one’s important!!) have your little one’s go to bed at their normal bedtime as it says so on the clock, so the “new” time. So for example, if your little one usually wakes up at 6am and goes to bed at 7pm, their wake up would not have matched the clock time, but their bedtime should match it. And this goes for you too! You need to go to sleep at an appropriate time on the clock so that you are not pushing the hour of lost sleep to the next night instead. 

This last one might be a little tricky if your little one’s body, or your body, isn’t tired yet, but if you were able to be outside a lot that day, this should help ease the transition to sleep. Another thing that will help with this transition is having a long wind down period this Sunday night (You can read more about wind down periods in one of my previous blogs). I would start quieting the house down at least two hours before bedtime. Sunday night of daylight saving time is not the night to plan a crazy, energetic night of fun. Instead the plan should be for a quiet, calm family night in dark, or at least dim, lighting. 

There you go, No Sleep Lost! 

If you already have something you have to wake up early for or stay up late for this Sunday, then plan ahead and go to bed earlier on Saturday night so that you don’t lose out on your sleep! 

Are you picking up on my message?

Sleep is too important to miss out on!

Miss out on doing something else. Reallocate that lost hour for something other than sleep. 

If you don’t think your little one will be ok with this shift in their schedule, you can ease into the transition with a gradual shift rather than all happening in one night. I help explain this schedule in an article you can find here. But honestly, this is the easier of the two time shifts for little ones. So if you plan on just waiting until Sunday to do anything, you shouldn’t have to worry about any crazy sleep setbacks. This slow transition is more relevant for the fall schedule shift.  

So, parents, what’s one thing that you’ll spring ahead and miss an hour of instead of your precious sleep? I’m going to go ahead and give up an hour of doing laundry! 💜🧸

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