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Unless you happen to live in Arizona or Hawaii, you know exactly what’s coming this Sunday. Daylight Savings Time might only shift our day by an hour, but for those with little ones, that hour can hit your family’s sleep schedule, energy level, and overall mood like a train! This week, your team at Wonder Bunch has put together a few expert tips to take the crash out of falling back.
Take it Slowly
Start today. Instead of waiting for the official time change, start moving your child’s schedule by 15-20 minutes today. That means more than just sleep, but meals, bath time, screen time, and tooth brushing. Letting your little one stay up a little later to help fold socks, share a story, or have a healthy bedtime snack does more than promote your family’s bond, it will make that hour shift later this week a little less drastic.
Say Yes to Serotonin
When sleep issues start to make bedtime trickier, start in the kitchen! While many families swear by a nightly melatonin, the long term affects of artificially affecting your sleep hormones become a deterrent to many. Instead, increase your glycine levels by adding legumes like lentils and peanut butter to your evening meal. Glycine increases your serotonin levels, which helps create a restful body. Many pediatricians will also recommend a square of dark chocolate (before brushing and flossing, of course!) to help children achieve a deeper sleep. This child-approved method makes for a very sweet ending to any evening! Opting for a dark hot chocolate (be sure you’re using a high % chocolate) like this one from All Recipes are a cozy end to a chilly evening walk!
Other foods that are often thought to induce a more restful night include cheeses, yogurts, and bananas.
A late-night laugh session could also be just what the doctor ordered. Laughter has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which lead to both a more restful sleep and a more alert waking. Trade in your nightly screen time for funny stories from when you were their age, tales of first meeting your partner, or hilarious tales from when they were babies. This flooding of feel-good hormones can help you and your child sleep better, but can also help you feel more connected long-term. Those are some addictive stats we can get behind!
Resist the Thermostat
While the nights are growing chillier, resist the urge to bump that thermostat up too high at night. A lower body temperature has been proven to lead to fewer restless nights. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the dropping temperature is your friend as the winter wears on.
According to a study by The Sleep Foundation, the optimal temperature for sleep is 65° for most people. While this varies somewhat by age, a temperature between 62 and 67 will keep everyone in your family safe and sound, and soundly sleeping. Taking a warm bath before bed can help achieve the desired temperature drop which induces a deeper sleep, while warm pajamas keep your little ones cozy enough to be comfortable.
Skip the Extra Sleep
While napping when sleepy seems like an obvious answer, and listening to your body’s cues is absolutely the way to go, try to avoid extra sleep in your family’s schedule. While your body definitely keeps tract of sleep debt, it doesn’t bank any extra rest you get. Instead, try taking a walk when your family is feeling sluggish. The extra light exposure helps both with the sleep adjustment and the reduced vitamin D that can cause seasonal mood swings. If after your walk, the pillows are still calling, we won’t judge you too harshly for grabbing the nearest snuggly tiny person and catching a few fall snoozes every now and then. They’ll only be little enough to squeeze together on the couch for a little longer, and those little one cuddles don’t keep!
For more sleep tips, be sure to check out our blog on Optimal Sleep Schedules, and share yours by dropping us a comment or emailing Hello@WonderBunch.Com!