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Your Healthy Family: Making the most of the time change for you and your kids

Posted at 9:02 AM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 11:03:08-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As we get ready to switch off Daylight Saving Time this Sunday, most of us are looking forward to getting that extra hour of sleep. Earlier this week I heard one of my coworkers say this was the “good time change” instead of having to lose an hour of sleep like in the spring. That got me thinking, what would a sleep expert say about the end of Daylight Saving Time?

Dr. Timothy Rummel is a board certified sleep physician with UCHealth and Pulmonary Associates in Colorado Springs. Dr. Rummel tells me, “I think overall this is the ‘good’ time change. If you look at the majority of people who complain about their sleep, they complain about a lack of sleep and this is their chance to catch up an hour.”

The switch to Daylight Saving Time and losing an hour of sleep can be jarring. That transition can be eased by going to bed a little earlier every night a few nights before the time change. While most of us are not jarred at the chance to get an extra hour of sleep, Dr. Rummel says there are ways to make the most of getting that extra hour of sleep.

“Most of the strategy (now) comes after the time change. If you think about it, if you are the kind of person that tends to stay up later and later, and spend too much time on your electronic devices and then your waking up later and later and always trying to catch up on the weekend, this is your opportunity to re-establish your sleep habit and a wake time that works (best) for you.”

So how can we make that new extra hour last us into the new week and new and improved sleep habits? Dr. Rummel says, “That 8am wake time becomes 7 am, the best thing to do is get bright light in the morning and not let yourself sleep in on the weekend. Drive without your sunglasses if you can in the morning, and that will help (your body) firm up that earlier wake up time.”

And believe it or not Dr. Rummel says there is a group that can struggle to come off Daylight Saving Time. “This is a tough time for those older folks who go to bed early and get up early. Now their 8pm bedtime becomes 7 p.m. and their 4 a.m. awakening becomes a 3 a.m. awakening. It's something they can deal with but generally what they need to do is rather than just finding themselves waking up at 3 in the morning, they need to push their bedtime a little later, and do it gradually, stay up 15 to 30 minutes later a few nights before the change and then they won't be stuck waking up so early in the morning.”

The time change it's also a great chance to closely examine the sleep habits of your kids and

Dr Rick Mohon is a pediatric pulmonologist with Children's Hospital Colorado.

Dr. Mohon says if your kids are not getting a good night’s sleep there are some clues that will show up while they are awake. “If they start to have changes in their grades, if they were A-B students and now they're B-C students. If you have different behavior in the daytime don't forget about sleep. If you get an insufficient amount of sleep - which is the number one cause of daytime fatigue - you can't concentrate like you need to, and you can't interact with your peers in socially acceptable ways all the time. If you start to see those problems, you need to think is there a sleep problem at night.”

If you have questions about getting a good night's sleep your primary care doctor or pediatrician for your kids is a great place to start.

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