XENIA — This weekend is the latest attempt of man’s efforts to control time when, at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 9, Daylight Savings Time begins. For one of two times during the calendar year, everyone will be trying to remember “Spring Forward, Fall Back.”
Although everyone can be affected, younger family members may be questioning why it is still light out, even though it’s bed time, and why it is, once again, dark when the school bus arrives.
According to Dr. Michael Bonnet, a doctor with Kettering Health Networks’ Sleep Centers, Monday might see an increase in accidents, and could be a grumpy day.
“People may once again be driving to work or school in the dark, or into rising sunshine,” he said. “We could see an increase in auto accidents, an increase in bad moods, and other problems on Monday morning.”
This “suddenly light later” can also wreck havoc with a young person’s sleep cycles until the internal clock, or circadian rhythm, resets.
“If we change the clock on our wall correctly and keep our same sleep times, we lose an hour of sleep,” Dr. Bonnet said. “But for man of us, the time change means sleeping an hour later on Sunday morning and putting off the change to Sunday night.
“If we still go to bed and get up at our typical clock times on Sunday, our body sees this as going to bed an hour earlier and getting up an hour earlier.”
Even by going to bed an hour earlier, sleep may still not come to the normal time becasue the body isn’t ready for sleep for another hour, Dr. Bonnet said.
“This means that we will start Monday with an hour of sleep deprivation from the prior night and will also still be sleepy because we are getting up a hour earlier than our body is used to,” he said.
Lori Strong, a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with The Family Sleep Institute has offered some helpful hints to try to keep junior on track during the transition.
Strong suggests that parents stick to the schedule, use blackout shades if needed, try the use of white noise as a bedtime background, and don’t forget that parents need sleep, too.
Strong writes that the fact that the child is losing an hour of sleep Sunday may make them tired, but it will not affect them greatly as that is a one-day thing. It’s the rest of the time where you will have to work. Keep it routine. If bedtime is 8 p.m., it stays at 8 p.m.
In that regard, if a child can’t go to sleep because it’s too bright in his room, try the use of blackout shades on the windows. By the way, this works for adults who can’t sleep in a bright room, too, Strong states.
White noise may be a method of keeping the songs of birds from keeping some awake. The white noise, Strong states, allows the brain to sleep deeply because the sound is constant. White noise, she states, is better than music because the “dynamic changes” in music do not allow the brain to achieve deep, restorative sleep.
There are those, however, who say if you do nothing, a child will revert to its old schedule without any problems, just like when going to a new time zone.
William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield