Adjusting to Daylight Saving Time for Children

Posted on: March 5, 2014

Sweat Dreams

By Dr. Lewis Kass, Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Northern Westchester Hospital

Kass,(Lewis J. Kass, MD)Children’s busy schedules may have more of an impact on their sleep than daylight saving time.

In today’s world the one hour time change is the smallest of the issues that affect our children’s ability to get to sleep. Most school-age children are so over scheduled that they come home exhausted. From school to swim or basketball or soccer practice to piano lessons to homework then ending the day with television or video games or tablet time, a child’s day should’ve ended long before a bedtime that is frequently later than it should be.

The average middle school-er really should be in bed with lights out by 9 PM. So come daylight saving time, whether darkness occurs at 6 PM or 7 PM, our kids are frequently sleepy and fatigued enough to be asleep when the clock hits 9 PM even if their body clock thinks it’s only 8 PM.

So the bottom line is to maintain religious sleep times and wake times and a child’s clock will readjust. Some of the best advice I can impart as a pediatric sleep specialist is to scale down our children’s schedule;  limit screen time after dark; and as the day gets longer a little light exercise with the family after dinner can be beneficial as well.