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Spring Forward - Top 10 tips for you and your family


In the US on Sunday, March 14th we “spring forward”! Be sure and turn your clocks forward 1 hour, before bed on Saturday night.  I always think that losing sleep is a bummer, even if it's just 1 hour!  

If you have kids this change may help you sleep later.  Here's how - If you/your child(ren) typically wake at 6am, then they will likely wake 7 AM on the new clock ... if 6 AM was their usual wake up time.  If you like this change then YAY!  This is a great fix for an early riser.  See more tips below.  

Grown-ups and teens may have difficulty with this change as most go to bed too late as it is and to properly adjust to this time change we should go to bed earlier and on Monday we have to get up an hour earlier too.  

Here are 10 tips to help with the transition:

1. Do nothing to fix early rising

If you/your child(ren) typically wake at 6am, then they will likely wake 7am.  If you like this change then YAY!  This is a great fix for an early riser.

Keep meals, naps, and bedtime on the new schedule (1hr later). To protect this new wake up time.  You may also want to use continuous white noise for all sleep periods and keep the room really, really dark with blackout curtains.

2. Gradually adjust

This is ideal for children under 2 or those who don’t do well with big changes (eg: kids with developmental delays, autism, baby's under 6 months, etc).

Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night this week.  Then each day, wake up your child 15 minutes earlier in the morning.  If napping, put baby/child down 15 minutes earlier for each nap.

Continue to adjust the schedule earlier in 15-minute increments (wake up, naptimes, mealtimes, and bedtime) until you get to your goal according to the new clock time.

3.  Adjusting all at once

On Sunday, schedule the day (wake up, meals, naps, and bedtime) on the new clock time.  But don’t start your day any earlier than 6am on the new clock time.  We call this the cold turkey method. 

You will benefit from getting the family up an hour earlier on Sunday to avoid any bedtime difficulties on Sunday night.  If wake up time is typically 8 AM on Sunday, then continue with that plan even though the body will think it's 7 AM.  That will help everyone be more tired on Sunday night and have an easier time going to sleep.

4.  Split the difference

If you think the one-hour adjustment is too much for your child, split the difference and move bedtime early by 15-20 minutes.  Start this Sunday or if you can manage it at least a few days in advance.  Once that is going well, shift bedtime early again.  Repeat this until you get to the full hour.

Don't forget to adjust your entire schedule in the same increments eg: earlier wake-up time, nap time(s) and meal times.

Here is an example for a child on a schedule of 8 PM - 7 AM
Tuesday & Wednesday night: bedtime 7:40 PM, wake time 6:40 AM
Thursday & Friday night: bedtime 7:20 PM, wake time 6:20 AM
Saturday & Sunday night: bedtime 7:00 PM, wake time 6:00 AM
By Sunday morning the clock will say 7 AM (new time).

You can also move bedtime earlier by 10 minutes per night if that is easier.  Adjusting the wake time is critical.  Even if you/your child doesn't fall asleep earlier at bedtime.

5. Make naps a priority this week

Be sure to make naps a priority this week, this weekend and next week too!  Need help with schedules?  View my blog on Sample Schedules by age.  Consistency is your best friend. We parents can sometimes forget the factors that set naps and night sleep apart: noise level, too much daylight, etc.  Don't forget that naps are the hardest time to put yourself to sleep. You want to stay consistent in order to make their nap time the most effective.

6. Watch the sleep windows

Watch the sleep windows view my blog on Awake Windows by age).  Follow your child's sleep cues and use awake windows as your guide for both naps and bedtime.  If your child is a champ at hiding their sleep cues, try taking them to a dark room near when you think it's nap time, sometimes that will bring out the tired signs you were looking for to know when is the best time to put them down for sleep. 

7. Environment

A dark, quiet and stimulation free sleep area.  Some babies need total darkness to nap. I always recommend room darkening shades for improved sleep.  If it is a noisy home, you might want to try a loud fan or place a white-noise machine in the room.  

8. Lots of natural light

First thing in the morning get outside or open the windows for natural light.  It's important to reset the internal clock.  So get lots of bright sunlight in the morning during this transition time.

9. Make bedtime a priority

Don’t forget an early enough bedtime!  For most children that is between 7 – 8 PM.   Don't wait until your child is rubbing his eyes, yawning, or whining — that's probably too late. Put him to bed earlier. Even 15 to 20 minutes of extra sleep can make a difference.  

10.  Essential Oils

Certain essential oils have a unique chemical property making them useful for promoting a calming and relaxing aroma that can create a restful environment at bedtime.  Essential oils can be very effective and very useful during sleep disturbances such as a time change.

My favorites for sleep are:
doTERRA Serenity Restful Blend 
doTERRA Serenity Restful Complex Softgels.
doTERRA Calmer Roller Bottle.  
For both adults and children, you would diffuse Serenity Blend at night to create a calm sleeping environment.

Adults - Additional ways to use Serenity Blend:
Apply to bottoms of feet at bedtime to help unwind before going to sleep. 
Use in conjunction with doTERRA Serenity Restful Complex Softgels for an enhanced effect.
Inhale directly from hands or diffuse throughout the day for a soothing aroma.
Add two to three drops into a warm bath with Epsom salts to create a relaxing, renewing experience.
Apply two to three to the back of the neck or on the heart for feelings of peace.
Baby or Children - Ways to use Calming Roller:
Apply to bottoms of feet at bedtime to help unwind before going to sleep.
I'd love to help you started on your essential oil journey with doTERRA.  I will be your personal oil mentor!  Click on this link to order today - doTERRA LINK 

If you have questions about these products or essential oils contact me to set up a free 30-minute education around your health goals.

Everyone will feel the effects of clocks moving and most adjust within 5-10 days.  But with a little planning ahead of time, you can make the transition much easier for everyone in your household.

Sweet Dreams!

Written by: Michelle S. Donaghy

PS: If you are having sleep struggles after the time change, please schedule a time for a reboot (for my current clients) or a consultation if you are a new family.  (click here to schedule a Well-Rested Family ~ Introductory Call (Complimentary).


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