sleeptraining

If You Complain About Daylight Saving Time, Don’t Expect Sympathy From Parents Of Bad Sleepers

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tired-mom-in-robeWe move our clocks forward this weekend and if the posts in my social media feeds are any indication, Daylight Saving Time is second only to the apocalypse in terms of horror for most parents. I see the same melodramatic posts twice a year lamenting the lack of sleep and how Daylight Saving Time is the worst thing that’s ever happened and while I empathize, I don’t really understand what all the fuss is about. We’re parents. We never get sleep.

Perhaps I’m less inclined to feel like like losing or gaining an hour in any part of the day is a big deal because my children are already pretty poor sleepers. They refuse to go to bed and they wake up at the crack of dawn. My toddler is notorious for pushing her 7:00 p.m. bedtime as far into the night as she possibly can and then hovering over me at 4:30 a.m. asking if she can watch cartoons. Whether she’s up before the sun or still begging for bedtime stories at midnight makes no difference to me. I’m already exhausted.

Similarly, I have an infant who cares not even a little bit about my need for uninterrupted, restful sleep. Sure, he’s on a routine — sort of — but that routine still involves being fed at midnight and sometimes also at three in the morning. It isn’t totally out of character for him to sit up well after those feedings giggling in his crib and brightly awake. Really, what’s an hour either way?

It’s not that I think parents’ complaints about Daylight Saving Time are invalid. I just don’t understand how it’s really all that different from the things we deal with every day. Even the very best sleepers are still prone to occasional late nights and early mornings, wild variances from their usual routine, and the odd night of barely sleeping at all. Is a few days of a disrupted schedule really worth whining about for a full week before and after?

There are plenty of valid reasons for getting rid of Daylight Saving Time. In the winter, it makes it difficult to cope for people who suffer from depression (something I experience firsthand). In fact, research has shown suicide rates actually spike during that time. Similarly, “springing forward” is associated with a slight increase in the rate of heart attacks due to the negative effects of disrupting our circadian rhythms.

There’s every reason to believe these changes are just as hard on our kids, and I don’t fault anyone for struggling with that. I just wish the complaining would stop. We get it. Everyone who has a kid knows exactly what you’re going through and likely goes through it all the time, regardless of what’s going on with the clocks. Daylight Saving Time is disruptive and pointless, but so are the endless complaints. Move your clocks up, try to make up the lost sleep when you can, and enjoy your extra evening hour to drink wine all summer.

(Photo: Shutterstock)