When the clocks go forward an hour in March, and then back in October, we naturally think about how it affects children and their bedtime routines.
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But it can also have an impact on us mums and dads, too. In fact, many people find it hard to adjust to the time change as it affects their body clocks and their sleep.
Although it is only an hour, it can take weeks for some people to get back into their routine and feel normal again. As a parent you’re probably already sleep deprived so you need to make sure you don’t lose anymore zzz’s – remember lack of sleep makes us grumpier, moodier, snappier and reaching for the caffeine and junk food.
This year the day the clocks go forward falls on the same weekend as Easter making it the ideal recovery period. If you’re someone who feels the effects of losing an hour’s sleep, try the following tips to help yourself adapt:
Move bedtime a little earlier, just by 10 minutes or so, in the days approaching the clocks going forward. It won’t seem too bad come Sunday when you lose those precious 60 minutes.
A lie in is elusive as a parent but why not let your partner sleep in on the Sunday and you on the Monday? That way you both get chance to reclaim back some of your lost sleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old. If it’s older than seven years, maybe use the long weekend to look at replacing it.
Now that Summer is nearly officially upon us, keep the bedroom as dark as possible. Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. It is important to expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible, and conversely, do not expose yourself to bright light when it is dark outside.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Create a sleep-friendly environment that enhances your chances of falling asleep, staying asleep and sleeping well. This includes a cool temperature (around 16-18 degrees) and eliminating distractions (ie banning mobiles, tablets etc in the hour before bed).
Try not to overindulge in chocolate, food and alcohol over the Easter weekend. These all have a negative impact on sleep. If you get a craving to eat your Easter egg before bed, switch it for a milky hot chocolate instead.
- If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.