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Your Body & Daylight Saving Time

Your Body & Daylight Saving Time

Fall brings more than cooler temperatures and a rash of reds, yellows, and gold. Fall brings the end of Daylight Saving Time and for anyone under sixteen a drastic change in what had become a daily routine. Counselors find “falling back” an hour can negatively affect many of us. The changing time interferes with body clocks and sleeping habits and although most adults adjust because they are already sleep deprived, for shift-workers, teens, young children and babies the change can be more difficult, and may take 2-3 weeks.

Researchers and counselors agree, adjusting in intervals works best. Rather than trying to stick to the same schedule make 10 minute adjustments. If your child awakens early allow him/her to lay there an additional 10 minutes increasing each day by 10 minutes until you reach the normal wake-up time. Adjust mealtime, naptime, bath time, bedtime and story time accordingly.

The brains of our babies and toddlers aren’t fully developed – neither is the brain of the adolescent. Children and often teens act on their feelings instead of dealing with them. They don’t want to go to bed when it’s light outside and they don’t want to get up in the dark. They want to stay out until the sun goes down and leave for that party after dark. Fallout from changes in exposure to daylight and/or disruptions in sleep can have serious consequences.

Most counselors suggest you start adjusting schedules by an hour days before Daylight Saving Time ends – we agree. However for many, this is a first time challenge, while others fail to recall the drama of fall 2012, and our spring-forward in April 2013, and as stated above, for many the transition period can span 2-3 weeks.

Cognitive changes caused by changes in sleep patterns can significantly affect the quality of life. If you or a loved one is experiencing serious discomfort, anxiety, alterations in sleep patterns, personality or behavioral changes brought on by Daylight Saving Time, Improving Lives Counseling Services can help.