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Daylight Savings Time Really Does Mess With Kids' Sleep: Study

One-third of parents shouldn't expect any extra ZZZs.

This Sunday, Nov. 1 is “fall back,” and you know that means!

A WHOLE EXTRA HOUR OF SLE- hahaha just kidding, you’re a parent, so it means nothing. If anything, it means bedtime chaos for kids sensitive to any changes in their routine. Somehow, possibly via black magic, the “extra hour” can even lead kids to wake up an hour or more earlier than they usually would. Funsies!

Daylight Saving Time (DST) has long been the woe of those with young children. But now new data shows exactly how much it can mess with parents.

A solid one-third of families should not expect any extra sleep this “fall back,” according to survey data from Huckleberry, a sleep consulting service. And 18 per cent of kids wake up an hour or more earlier after the time change (ie. you lose sleep).

"What's 'fall back,' Daddy?"
grinvalds via Getty Images
"What's 'fall back,' Daddy?"

Huckleberry surveyed more than 2,000 parents from across their Canadian and U.S. database. They found that, while 44 per cent of parents put their kids to bed 30 minutes or more later than usual the night before DST, 34 per cent of kids still woke up 30 minutes or more earlier than usual the next day (ie. you don’t get any extra sleep).

This was especially pronounced in toddlers and preschoolers.

Even if you don’t lose sleep, waking up an hour “earlier” (ie. 5 a.m. by the new clock instead of a kid’s usual 6 a.m.) can mess up their whole day, and lead to cranky, over-tired kids by afternoon or evening.

Losing sleep isn’t great for kids or parents

If you’re thinking nbd, so we lose a little sleep, it’s not so simple. Sleep directly impacts a baby’s physical and mental development, according to The National Sleep Foundation. And a recent study found that more than half of school-age kids don’t get enough sleep.

“Our research shows that children who get enough sleep are more likely to demonstrate measures of childhood flourishing in comparison to children with insufficient sleep,” Dr. Hoi See Tsao, author of the abstract, said in a press release.

“Chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children.”

Another study found that when DST ends each fall, it increases the number of cases of serious depression in adults.

How to prepare for fall back

So, is there any way to avoid this bi-annual fuctsercluck? Yes, and it’s all about baby steps.

Try gradually shifting your young kid or baby’s bedtime in 15 minute increments a few days in advance, Dr. Michael Dickinson, the former president of the Canadian Paediatric Society, previously told HuffPost Canada.

So, if baby normally goes to sleep at 7 p.m., put them to bed at 7:15, then 7:30, then 7:45, and then 8 p.m. in the days leading up to “fall back.” That way, when the new 7 p.m. is really 8 p.m., baby will be more ready.

Will that mean they wake up when they’re supposed to?

Hopefully. But we’re talking about kids, here, so it’s really all a crapshoot.

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