Thursday, October 29, 2009

Children's Sleep Cycles and End of Daylight Savings

If you have young children and you're wondering how to get them adjusted to the clock falling back an hour come this Sunday, you're not alone. The Washington Post's lead weatherman ponders his options and lays out his plan of action:

Sleep has become so sacred since the arrival of my first child 23 months ago that even the prospect of a winter wonderland outside my window doesn't lure this snow lover out of bed as early as it used to (imagine my disappointment when all I see is bare ground).

That's why, for several weeks now, I've been quietly plotting how to manipulate my offspring's sleep so that he'll awake Sunday morning the same time as always -- 8 a.m., on the dot -- and not a second earlier. (Yes, I know, some parents would kill for their children to sleep 'til 8).

Our plan of attack went into effect earlier this week...

[...]

So, for a few nights already, we've been putting our little guy to sleep a little later each night, and trying not to go to him in the morning until the full 11 hours are up. We've also been pushing the afternoon nap later, and will start doing the same for meals as well. (Lots of moving parts to this sleep manipulation thing!)


For whatever reason, this whole thing has completely escaped my radar this year. Not that I would have planned for it anyway. Weekends tend to be chaotic in the normal course and no amount of plotting will unravel the riddle of the early morning rush - no matter what time we get to bed the night before, we're all scrambling in the morning. As far as I'm concerned, if the kids wake up an hour early, no one will be happier than me. How long does the effect of gaining the one hour last? That's what I want to know. The longer the better, if you ask me.

11 comments:

Ugich Konitari said...

Sometimes I think we underestimate the human body. You cannot legislate the clock and time. I mean its fine as long as it means you drive back from work and still have 3 hours of daylight for activities in summer, and vice versa later. But agonizing over a kids circadian rhythm because of a one hour change , to me, is comical.(Writing articles on it is even stranger)... There are so many reasons for early awakening; hunger, dreams, bathroom, , and sometimes nothing.

Plus there is a weekend syndrome in western countries. We are just blessed /cursed (depends on what you perceive) here , with paperwallah,, doodhwallah, bai, school buses, plumbers announcing water stoppage, and sometimes electricity outage etc ...

You just get up when you have to ....:-)

ChoxBox said...

Aah the daylight savings business! How many times we arrived somewhere an hour too early, thanks to having totally forgotten that the clocks would be changed!

Bowie Mike said...

Wow. I can't imagine that level of planning, but aren't meteorologists usually wrong anyway? I am interested to hear his report from next week to see how he actually did.

Our kids usually go to sleep later on Halloween night anyway, so I think our plan will go into effect on Saturday night by following that natural course.

Suman said...

I think it would take about few days to a week to reset the biological clock. My son normally wakes up early in the weekends, so it will seem like even earlier this weekend... not unduly worried about it nor will extra planning be done to reset the biological clock.

Sands said...

Gaining time I have no problems with. It is the losing time that bugs me the most. Fortunately where I now live I don't have to worry about either :)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, I'm with you!!! I forgot all about it!!! So glad I stopped by for the reminder!! You are a life saver, Sujatha!! Have a wonderful weekend! And don't know if you "trick or treat" but hope you stay safe, warm and happy!!! Love to you, my dear friend~Janine XO

Dan Stillman said...

Bowie Mike -- It worked out quite well. Wake up this morning was only a few minutes before 8. Though I have to admit we tried a similarly gradual transition back leading up to the beginning of daylight saving time, and since it worked well then I had a feeling it would work well this time too. As we all know though, every kid is different. -Dan, Capital Weather Gang ... PS: At Capital Weather Gang, we're the first to admit we're not always right. But we do try to emphasize communication of forecast uncertainty with our forecast confidence ratings, and when appropriate always try to explain the uncertainty associated with a given forecast. Check us out at washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang

Bowie Mike said...

Dan Stillman, Congrats on a successful forecast! As you probably guessed, my comments were tongue-in-cheek. I have much respect for all that you meteorologists do!

Mallika said...

I so agree with you(Sujatha)...I'd be interested to see how one could plan for sleep cycles being disrupted due to jetlag after that long haul to India. On this note, on one of my trips to India when my younger son was an infant and woke every 4 hours, I have to say it(his nightly wakings) actually helped me recover from jetlag!

Debbie said...

I could not stand the time change when my kids were younger. Seems like it take forever for everyone to adjust. How are you all doing now?

Minal said...

Tagged again - http://grangergab.blogspot.com/2009/11/wishing-and-hopingmy-bucket-list.html

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