Take steps to prepare for time change

Published 11:05 am Thursday, November 3, 2011

Andalusia Star-News

It’s that time of year again – time to adjust the clocks and “fall back” an hour as daylight savings time ends this weekend.

Clocks will “fall back” one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday.

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The days will get shorter, winter will be on its way, and the change in time could warrant a difficult time for parents and children at bedtime.

Dr. Jennifer Chambers, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and mother of two said “moms with little ones are either bracing for these sleep disturbances or not thinking about it at all and will scramble to get children to sleep afterward with much frustration.”

Here are some tips to get your child acclimated to the upcoming change.

• Start now. Put your child to bed five to 15 minutes later every day to help your child get used to going to bed.

• Wake him or her a little later. Instead of waking him or her at 6:45 a.m., wait until 7 a.m.

• Parents with nappers. Keep naptime regular and at the same adjusted time that he or she usually takes them.

And little ones aren’t the only ones who experience problems after the time change.

Sixty percent of Americans say that they experience a sleep problem every night or most every night, according to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.

For many, Sunday provides an extra hour of much-needed sleep.

It’s recommended that adults go to bed at the same time.

Doing so will help make sure you’re not sleep deprived going into work on Monday.

Sleep officials offer these tips for adults to keep healthy sleep habits.

• Consistency is key. Go to bed when you are sleepy and stick to a set rise time. You cannot force yourself to fall asleep, but you can always get up when you need.

• Bedroom boundaries. Only use your bedroom for sleep. Do not use it as a place to watch TV, do work, surf the Internet or eat. This will help your body know when you get into bed, and when it’s time to sleep.

• Work up a sweat. Exercising can help your body have a reason to rest and stay asleep. Be sure to allow enough wind-down time, at least two to three hours before going to bed.

• Set the stage. Try taking a hot shower and getting into a cool bed. The process mimics day and night and could help guide your body to sleep.

• Put your thoughts to bed. Try jotting down a to-do list for the next day and put it aside to avoid having racing thoughts to prevent you from falling and staying asleep.

• Relax. Don’t watch TV or use the Internet right before bed. Try listening to soothing music or reading something that is mindless to help you fall asleep.