Many families are anticipating Halloween activities this week, but there’s another milepost just around the corner that warrants your attention this week as well. The biannual shift in clocks and sleep patterns is less than a week away … this time, for the end of Daylight Savings Time. Although the concept that allows for energy savings and more summertime daylight for agriculture, travel and the like, are sound concepts, it takes time for your body to adjust to its new rhythms. This is especially important to make note of for younger family members.
For starters, once daylight saving time has ended, try to stick to your schedule as much as possible. The first few days may be challenging and may require added patience within the family, but if you maintain the customary times for meals, sleep, doing homework, etc, that will speed the adjustment process along faster. Try to avoid the temptation to build in daytime naps as a “transition.” In the process, it will make adapting to the new patterns longer and harder.
Understand too, that some people have emotional difficulty with losing that last hour of afternoon daylight. A number of studies have found that seasonal depression is at its greatest, shortly after time changes. If you, or loved ones, are finding the transition emotionally difficult, try to stick with healthy living fundamentals. Nutritional eating, hydration, no more caffeine or alcohol than usual, no late dinners. Even light exercise or moderate activity can all help improve things.
Finally, as a consolation, remember that for most people, “falling back” is easier than “springing forward.” At least for the first week or so, your family is likely to benefit from waking up a little more rested and with a little more time and energy to accomplish your morning routines.