Children, on the other hand, usually do NOT obtain an extra hour of sleep. When a child has had a bedtime of 8 p.m. and rises at 7 a.m., she will appear tired and crabby by 7 p.m. on the Sunday night following the time change because her internal clock says it is 8 p.m. She may go to bed at 8 p.m., but she wakes at 6 a.m. because her internal clock says it is 7 a.m.
Although the time change officially takes place on a Saturday night, for the child it actually begins the next evening on Sunday. To help ease this transition, the parent should stick with the "old time" for the child's nap on Sunday. Then, on Sunday evening, the parent should move to the "new time," essentially making the child stay up an hour past the usual bedtime. The parent must continue putting the child down at night at 8 p.m. to help the child make the adjustment to sleeping until 7 a.m.
This transition can take time, so be consistent. Most children continue waking 30-60 minutes for several days, then intermittently for a week or two. After about 10-14 days, most children are back on schedule if the parent is consistent with the regular bedtime. It will take longer for the child to adjust if the parents have intermittently put the child to bed around 7-7:30 p.m.
If you need help with your child's bedtime or sleep patterns, contact the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital at 314-205-6030.
By Nancy Birkenmeier, BSN, RN, Sleep Medicine and Research Center, St. Luke's Hospital.
St. Luke's Hospital is an independent, nonprofit healthcare provider committed to improving the quality of life for its patients and the community. Since its founding in 1866, St. Luke's has grown from a single hospital location to an advanced network of care. It provides personalized healthcare services in over 60 specialty areas at its 493-bed hospital in Chesterfield, Mo. and 143-bed St. Luke's Des Peres Hospital. It also offers more than 30 other locations across the greater St. Louis area, bringing quality healthcare services close to home. St. Luke's is nationally-recognized for quality care and consistently earns high patient satisfaction scores. In St. Louis, St. Luke's is the exclusive alliance provider for the nation's No. 1 heart hospital, Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute.
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