Our summertime schedule looks more like we are on European time zone since my kids have been waking up at 11 am and staying up until midnight with the summer freedom to sleep late. So, how do we get over the incredible shock to the system of getting up early and resetting our body clocks for school?
I decided to do a little research for us and I went straight back to my days of living in Australia to remember the best tips for getting over a big time change. I also enlisted the help of friends who travel the world frequently.
Whether you are trying to get your family to get up for school again or trying to get over jet lag, here are my top 5 ways to get on a new time schedule fast.
1. Pop the Vitamin C – 500 – 1,000 mg of Vitamin C will boost your immune system and rev-up your system helping everything work at top tier. It will help you and your kids fight off germs that might find you in a tired, compromised state as well. My personal experience is that It helps with jet lag immensely if I start taking it one week before and throughout the trip until the end of the time change transition back home. Great for back to school too.
2. Step into the light – Natural light helps reset your melatonin. At the new morning time, get up and walk outside and face the sky for a few seconds or up to 30 seconds. Get the newspaper, let the dog out, open the shades and look up. Outdoor air and the morning light will do the trick.
3. No screens, phones, computers or TV blue lights up to one hour before bedtime ….which should be a time to give you 7.5 – 8 hours of sleep for cellular and body renewal. Blue lights in the TV, computer and phone interrupt the cycle of melatonin. In Arianna Huffington’s new book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA says, “People are exposing their eyes to this team of photons from these objects that basically tell your brain, ‘Stay Awake. It’s not time to sleep yet.’ So it’s 10 pm and you’re checking for emails, you’re looking at texts and those light beams tell your brain, ‘Don’t secrete melatonin, it’s not time to sleep.’
3. Eat on the new time even if you aren’t hungry. Ah, you probably know this one but it’s worth saying again that you pretty much need to do everything on the new time schedule even if you don’t feel like it. Even one or two bites will cause your body’s digestive system to start working and resetting its schedule. Consider dinner early so that kids feel the length of time after dinner as though they’ve stayed up late. Also, they are sure to be exhausted after their first few days of absorbing a new teachers, classes, locations of classes and could probably use dinner early.
4. Wind ‘er on down – whether your kids are 6 or 17, there’s something you can do to help them switch from late nights to earlier bedtimes….wind down your house. Begin to turn the lights and sound down in the house to dim, let them know electronics are going off and they need to move to their rooms soon to start showering or reading. Shutting things off around the house tells them that the kitchen is closed, the house is shutting down and it gradually directs them toward the inevitable..an earlier bedtime… When my kids were really little I would close all the shades and drapes early during late summer so they couldn’t see that it was still light outside and I’d start playing lullaby music. Well, that doesn’t work with teenagers but they might not notice the drapes were drawn at 7:30. Try it and see. Using bedtime cues that are slightly subliminal may help your kids make it to bed early because …they’ll just start yawning at the environment shutting down around them. “Good luck with that” those of you with teenagers are saying! Yeah, you are probably right but try turning their bedroom overhead light off and turning on just bedside lamps, try making it look LATE in your house. It might help them decide to shut the laptop and hit it.
Let me know how it goes at your house. Also, see my post on The Organizing Tip That Changed My Family’s Mornings. Happy Back To Everything season!