Preparing for the Daylight Saving Time Change Should Actually Start Tonight

By: Joe Hyer

March 9, 2017

Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend, and clocks going ahead one hour can be really tough on all of us. We lose an hour of sleep, and that can be incredibly difficult on us (and our kids). Experts say, however, that we need to actually start getting ready tonight for this weekend's time change. So here are five tips to help you (and your family) survive the time change.

1. Start preparing tonight (Thursday) - We should “ease into the time change,” according to sleeping expert Kim West. West suggests that adults (and children) go to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight (Thursday) to gear up for this weekend's changes. Increase that by going to bed 15 minutes on Friday and Saturday. Yes, this means you'll have to wake up 15 minutes earlier each day too.

As you're easing your kids into this new schedule, you may have to wake your child up 15 minutes earlier each morning too. Experts say that is OK, and it will help make everything easier come Sunday. 

2. Adjust the amount of light you're exposed to – You will now be waking up when it may very well still be dark out because the sun will be rising later. The change in natural light can negatively affect our bodies. So some experts actually recommend that you use melatonin supplements to provide the necessary melatonin hormones. You'll also want to get natural light as early in the day as possible to help counteract some of these negative effects. Go outside early in the day. 

On the flip side, dimming the lights before bedtime can help both adults and children settle into a sleepier state a little earlier each night, according to experts.

3. Fix bad sleeping habits - The time change can be a good reminder to fix any bad habits that adults may have developed. Time Magazine recommends that we use the time change as an opportunity to reboot healthy sleeping habits (like turning off electronic devices an hour before bed).

If your baby is currently waking up too early each morning, this may be a chance to correct that problem as well. Hopefully, your tot will sleep in an extra hour moving forward. 

4. Keep a normal schedule on Sunday  – This is one is tough because you will likely want to sleep in and take a nap on Sunday after losing that hour of sleep. Don't do it. Experts say that is important to keep your normal schedule on Sunday so you can wake refreshed for work (and school) on Monday. Yes, this even means waking up at your normal time on Sunday morning. 

5.  Watch your diet & exercise – This isn’t fun, but it will help your body rest up each night if you follow these simple tips. Eliminate all caffeine after 1:30 pm this week in order to make it easier to go to bed earlier. So much for that afternoon coffee break!
You’ll also want to avoid alcohol this weekend to help make the transition a little easier on your body. Lastly, exercising in the late afternoon/early evening can help tire your body to get ready for bed earlier.

Oh, and one more important thing: don't forget to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend.