October 26, 2023

Daylight Savings Blues

By Molly Daniels
Daylight Savings Blues

I love the fall months, but like most parents, I absolutely dread daylight savings time. October is one of my favorite months. My second son was born, my nephews and niece were also born in October. There's Halloween, apple picking, baseball playoffs and football. But, October is also a time of the year that I hate the most because of daylight savings fall back. Who would think that moving the clock one hour either direction would wreak such havoc on your kids' sleep schedules? For two weeks (and sometimes more), nobody sleeps. 

If you had warned my younger self about the lack of sleep that was to come along with having kids, I wouldn’t have believed you. I also wouldn’t have believed how dumb I’d someday become due to sleep deprivation. You know what I mean, the embarrassing comments, the constant forgetting of words and other parents’ names, and not being able to find my way to my child’s classroom (even though I’ve been there multiple times).  I read somewhere once that top interrogators use sleep deprivation as a way to torture their prisoners and systematically break them down physically and mentally…sound familiar? 

The actor Ryan Reynolds once called sleep as a parent “borderline pornographic”. Couldn’t be truer. Sleep has become that elusive unicorn that all parents are after but can’t seem to find while their kids are still young. And - as a side-note - I’m baffled by my friends who are now parents of older kids that have finally started sleeping and have decided to get a puppy (You know who you are).  

So, now that we can all relate.... What’s the answer? Is there one? As a non-expert, I would never promise you your younger, rested self again, but I can share a few tricks that I learned over years of countless sleepless nights and zombie-like days. 

  • Get blackout shades or curtains. Like, today. My husband and I spent countless days at Home Depot cutting the shades down to fit our rental house windows, and it helped. A lot. Our oldest son was the most sensitive to light and we would put blackout shades under blinds, and then under blackout curtains. We made his room like a cave. Science has proven that the darker the room, the better the sleep, and in turn - the more rested you wake up. Do yourself a favor and invest in window treatments that block out all light, it’s well worth it. We have velvet blackout curtains from Ricardo in our room and love them. The UBO curtains are also a good option for better sleep and come in many different colors and sizes. 
  • When traveling, take one of these genius portable blackout curtains with you. These are an amazing way to bring sleep with you - wherever you are. When we travel with our kids, they inevitably wake up with the sun. 5am comes early on vacation and makes everyone cranky travelers. I now bring several portable curtains with us wherever we go, and the kids sleep so late that we have to actually wake them up. Our vacations are better, we are all happier people, and we get real sleep when we are away from home. It’s a game changer. There are a lot of basic portables on Amazon, but the Lime Portable is the best one (we tried them all in creating our own version). LimePortable and Amazon. Here is a before and after on one of our recent ski vacations. 
  • Find a good sound maker. And we also have this portable one Amazon for when we travel. It’s worth the investment to have white noise while you sleep and block out all other noise. It makes all the difference and we have them in every one of our rooms now (including ours). Our sound makers are all old, but I found a couple of options on Amazon - Link and Link
  • Establish a bedtime routine with your kids. Set up a regular bath-time, read a story, snuggle your little human and then lights out. Try to keep the lights and noise to a minimum and start to allow the kids to wind down for the night. Studies say that screen time before bed prevents good sleep and keeps kids (and adults) from falling asleep. Dump your screens and find a good book or series to read with your kids. Iggy Pect, Architect, Motorcycle Diaries, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and Harry Potter are some great choices.
  • Find a good nighttime drink or supplement. It can make all the difference. I'm not a doctor, so these are just suggestions of products that we have used in the past. Please speak to your doctor about what might be best for you. I used the Organifi products while nursing, but again, please speak to your doctor and don't take medical advice from me. Organifi, Beam, and most Melatonin and CBD gummies work well in this department.  

I'll sign off with one last tip for all of you sleep deprived mamas (and dads). Be patient. Remember that this hard phase doesn’t last forever. I know everyone says it goes fast, and as annoying as that statement is... it's very true. Especially since we spend so many years as sleep deprived humans, walking around like complete zombies and can't remember much of it. Try out some of these seasoned mama-tips for the time being, and then make sure you look ahead to when your kids are older, when you will finally sleep through the night again.

... Just in time for that puppy.