This Sunday is doomsday. Also known as Daylight Saving Time. Also known as, the stupidest idea ever. Also known as, every parent’s nightmare. Also known as, one more thing to throw off your kid’s sleeping schedule. Also known as, the governments way of ensuring that people with moderate to severe SAD really have something to look forward to each fall.
As if it’s not bad enough that it’s getting dark at 6 PM each day naturally. You have to enforce an archaic and cruel policy that takes a seasonally appropriate sunset and usher it in a whole hour earlier. I love Simon and Garfunkel as much as the next person, but I am not cool with darkness and we are not friends.
Not. Even. Close.
Plus, DST is a real pain in the butt to deal with once you have kids. You go through so much just to get them on a sleep routine of any kind, and then along comes DST and completely ruins everything. Everrrrrrything.
*Open palm. Insert face. Commence sobbing.
Listen people, I know I titled this post “How to Survive Daylight Saving Time” but let’s be honest. I have no clue. I’m just trying to get through “falling back” until that glorious day that we get to “spring forward,” just like the rest of us. And short of storming the White House with all of our sleep deprived children and demanding that they stop – just stop- the madness, I really don’t have any great solutions. Basically, all I can do is offer a few of my favorite coping mechanisms.
(And please, if you have any suggestions on how to make the transition any easier, by all means, do share in the comments below!)
-My number one suggestion for getting through the winter blahs is to purchase a Happy Light. I love my Happy Light so much! You can find them in some specialty lighting stores or online at Amazon.
What does a Happy Light do? Well, make you happy, of course! But more specifically, it: produces a natural spectrum to improve mood, naturally promotes energy, and naturally helps your body recalibrate and stabilize.
I place my Happy Light on my dressing table and turn it on in the morning while I get ready. I’ve also had it in my bathroom in the past. Basically, you just need to be exposed to it for about 20-30 minutes (if I remember correctly, you just need the light in your peripheral vision in order to receive it’s benefits). The specific amount of time you need to use the light is up to you. You can spend too much time with your Happy Light; it will actually “wire” you! For that reason, it’s best suited for morning use.
-Surround yourself with houseplants. Seriously! I’m sure you’ve heard that houseplants help clean your air which in turn helps you breath easier. But plants also promote a sense of calm, reduce illness, improve mental clarity, and help you heal faster when you are sick. DST can really throw your sleep out of whack, which can affect your immunity. Filling your home with healing, calming houseplants can help combat the negative side affects.
-Start the transition early. (This tip is so, so helpful for little ones, too.) So in the fall, we “fall back” one hour. Instead of attempting the switch all at once, start four days early. On the first night, go to bed 15 minutes early. On the second, 30 minutes. And so on and so forth. That way, when DST arrives, you will have already shifted your bedtime forward by one hour. ***I’m not going to lie, this tip only works if you are both disciplined and have a regular bedtime. I am not, and I do not. So…
-If you need to take a nap to combat fatigue post-DST, the earlier in the day the better. I recently read a great tip about naps (for adults). You want to add to the previous night’s sleep, not subtract from the upcoming night. In other words, try to nap as early in the day as possible. I’ve tried this theory a few times and it really does seem to be true.
-I know a lot of people say not to eat before bed. I find that utter nonsense. If I’m even remotely hungry at bedtime I will lie awake until I decided to drag myself out of bed and get a snack. And by that time I’m usually so hungry that I’ll plow through a whole bag of chips before I even realize what’s happening. It’s best just to plan ahead.
I’ve read that the best bedtime snack is something that combines a carb with a protein. Because your body slowly breaks down a complex carb and uses it to stabilize blood sugar, it will not only help you fall asleep but also stay asleep! Yay for eating!
-Exercise each day. Eat good food. And try and do other things that you know are good for your body and soul. Get out of the house. See friends. Drink coffee. Whatever. This is survival mode. Do what you have to do, and know that you have my deepest sympathy. Because this, is kind of the worst.