Daylight Saving Is Ending, So Let Your Kids Stay Up Later
This Sunday, we move the clocks back one hour, marking the end of daylight saving time. It’s a welcomed extra hour of sleep for most teenagers and adults, but for younger kids and their parents the time change can really disrupt the routine. There is, however, a pretty simple way to address the transition—the trick is to start early.
Adjusting the clocks in either direction can affect our sleep cycle. We become internally out of sync. And depending on sleep habits, that can be particularly challenging for children.
"So, when we change the clocks, actually the internal clock doesn’t change," Canapari said.
For example, a child that normally goes to bed at 8:00 pm and wakes up at 6:00 am will be on a 7:00 pm to 5:00 am schedule when the clocks fall back an hour. But, Canapari said there is a relatively simple way to prepare for the transition, and it starts with a later bedtime.
"To give an example, my younger son, who’s six, goes to bed at 8:00 and gets up around 6:30 in the morning," said Canapari. "What we’re going to do is just move his bedtime to 8:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then when we move his bedtime back to 8:00 on Sunday night, it just will make it go a little bit more smoothly."
Moving a child’s bedtime 30 minutes later gets them a half-step closer to the new time Canapari said. But some children, specifically children on the autism spectrum, require a slightly different approach.
“I may recommend just moving the child’s bedtime 10 minutes later each day for the week prior," Canapari said. "Like say 8:00, 8:10, 8:20. You’re just helping them to adjust the body clock.”
On the flip side, this is the best time for teenagers.
"And I don’t mean just the hour that they’re gaining, but also in terms of the biology of it," Canapari said. "It’s going to be a little bit closer to their natural inclination. Biologically, teenagers want to sleep from 11:00 or 12:00 at night to 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning."
Gaining that extra hour of sleep also presents an opportunity to get teenagers back on track, Canapari said, if they can maintain the new schedule.