Moms Council: Switching Our Internal Clocks to Eastern Standard Time

Local moms talk about falling back and how the lack of daylight hours affects them and their children.

Hello and welcome to this week's Fredericksburg Patch Moms Council, an online forum of ordinary mothers just trying their best to raise their children. The Moms Council will take your questions, share advice and offer solutions every Wednesday at 1 p.m. This week's topic is do we really gain an hour of sleep when we switch from Daylight Savings Time (DST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST) when we have children?

I never realized how much an hour time shift could affect someone until I watched my 32 month old son during the days that followed the change over from DST to EST. It didn't affect him initially, he slept fine at night but he was tired closer to noon rather than his "normal" nap time. How did the switch back to EST affect your children? Did they wake at what seemed like the middle of the night? Were they hungry earlier?

Not only was my son falling asleep earlier for both nap and bedtime, the time change also seemed to alter his personality. I'm not sure if it's the lack of daylight hours between the time he wakes from his nap to the time he goes to bed but something was definitely off. My friends always joke when the kids are off the wall that it must be a full moon. Could we blame this personality shift on the impending full moon? Or, perhaps, that hour difference and the change in barometric pressure just sent the kids into a frenzy! Share with me what changes you noticed in your children after falling back.

I used to love gaining that extra hour and all the Autumnal colors and smells, but after children I don't have the same feelings. The colder, shorter days are depressingly gray and it gets dark way too early. How are you handling your children's need for a late afternoon, early evening romp around without daylight? Where do you go to let them run out some energy before bedtime?
Join the discussion -- we want to hear from you! Share with us in the comment area your opinion on DST. Does DST really save on our energy bills or was it just for the farmers? In this day and age, should we keep our clocks set at EST?  For more information about the format, and an introduction to our Mom's Council, read our intro post .

Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:25 PM
I think it is me whoes personality has changed. I am crankier because the late afternoon/ evening time seems to last forever now! Before, I could feed them dinner and then take a walk with them or go to a playground close by and let them play. Now that it's dark, you can't walk or play outside after dinner so the evening lags on forever!
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Sharee were they getting the same amount of sleep just an hour earlier?
Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:26 PM
I am not a huge fan because of the early darkness, but I understand that it is important in the farming community. I think it will effect us less when the children are a little older.
Sharee November 16, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Right after school, if the weather cooperates they can play on the playground. But it's not for a long time because there is homework and dinner,etc... and I want him to have some down time after homework is done to do whatever. They do do pe twice a week now... I'm really happy about that.
Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:27 PM
I have been using music to dance to or even running an errand like grocery shopping after dinner. It allows us to get out, the children are usually ok cause they are fed and distracted from being out and about and I can get something done that I didn't have time to do during the day.
Veronica November 16, 2011 at 06:27 PM
My eldest son and I went for a walk with our flashlights and spent time in the backyard looking for 'night creatures' even though it was only 6 30pm ha ha It was a fun evening and kept him 'awake' bit longer since he is so tired in the evening now.
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Ironically, James is sleeping in until 8am but seems to be much more tired for nap at around 12:30 rather than his "normal" naptime of 1:30 even a week later.
Veronica November 16, 2011 at 06:29 PM
My children are still adjusting to the time change and they are definitely moodier as a result. Everything seems a bit mixed up right now especially my youngest son's nap time.
Debra November 16, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Aidan was sleeping so well until the switch. I hate it! It's really nothing to complain about, and I think he is starting to adjust this week, but his personality was definitely off all of last week. Because he no longer naps, waking up early really was destroying him, and then there would be this vicious cycle - if he somehow fell asleep during the day (only happened on a long drive), he wouldn't be tired at bedtime, repeat, repeat, repeat! It's awful and I can't wait until the adjustment is complete.
Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Nikki, I was putting them both down at 8, but Emma was waking a lot during the night and not really napping during the day, so the dr. told me to put her down 1/2 hour to an hour earlier and she is sleeping better at night and napping better. Liam has been going down between 7:45 instead of 8 just because lack of naps and sickness. They usually wake between 6:30 and 7
Veronica November 16, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Both my children are waking up at 5 or 5 30 instead of their usual 6 30 and also wanting to go to bed an hour earlier too. We are trying to put them to bed a bit later each night but it's been tough because the 'wake up' times havent adjusted yet.
Sharee November 16, 2011 at 06:32 PM
They were short about 30min in the am. And they were really tired at bedtime, which brought out the crankies...
Veronica November 16, 2011 at 06:32 PM
The first day was tough because we tried to keep more to the 'old time' but because of the preschool schedule nap times still had to change. We are slowly trying to adjust...but we aren't quite there yet. ha ha
Veronica November 16, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Despite all the difficult adjustments I do like the time change in order to help give us more light in the AM or PM. We love to be outdoors so having more 'sun time' is always welcomed. I think I will like the time change more in another week or two after we have fully adjusted. ;-)
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Carolyn, I totally agree...my personality has been altered. I look at the clock and its only 6:30 pm and I think it ought to be 7:30 or later. It hasn't helped that my husband has been waking for work at 4:40am either...makes for a long for me!
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:39 PM
I'm with your V. I love the extra light in the summer time so its a nice trade off but for now its an adjustment.
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Debra, is this the first year you have seen a big difference in A's sleep schedule?
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Did the change from DST to EST time affect you before having children? Are you finding it more difficult to adjust more so because of the affects it has on the kiddos?
Debra November 16, 2011 at 06:48 PM
I'm not sure. Things are always changing a little bit re: sleep, but ever since he stopped napping, things have been pretty predictable and consistent - he goes to bed at 8 and sleeps about 11 hours usually. If/when he wakes up earlier than that, his mood is really off, yet he refuses to admit it's because he is exhausted. As long as he is getting 11 hours at night, he doesn't display any signs of fatigue at all. But it's amazing what waking up one hour earlier will do to him! Luckily, this week my sweet boy seems to have returned.
Lori DePue November 16, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Mine all wanted to go to bed at 630-7 and usually we do not put them down till 8pm, but Patrick was asking to go to bed early! We are slowly getting back to 8pm!
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:51 PM
How are you keeping your children in their rooms until a reasonable hour in the morning?
Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:53 PM
I remember feeling a little off like the first day that the day light savings change occured. But now, with children, it has definitely effected me more so than it did before having children.
Lori DePue November 16, 2011 at 06:54 PM
They do races at night around the house, that gets some energy out! It is so hard not to be able to go out and play at night, we have been taking advantage of every nice day to get outside!
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Lori, did they wake earlier since they were going to bed earlier?
Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:55 PM
We have always locked Liam's door when we tuck him in to bed, cause when it wasn't locked and he realized he had freedom, he was coming into our room earlier and ealier. When he started coming in by 4:30 a.m. we decided to lock the door. He will usually play quietly for about a half hour and then he starts banging on his door and calling for us.
Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 06:56 PM
We don't go open his door until 7 or like quarter of.
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 06:58 PM
James still naps and I am finding him even more cranky (more so than before) after nap. It seems he wakes up from nap and then it is dark soon after. Does anyone have any suggestions to alter this moodiness?
Lori DePue November 16, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Yes, they woke earlier, but I would make them lay back down till 6am, sometimes it is hard to get them to lay back down, especially if they all wake at the same time, then I give up and just get up also!
Debra November 16, 2011 at 07:13 PM
When Aidan gets up in the morning, he usually takes out some figurines and turns on his lamp and plays. Sometimes, he'll come into our room and talk about breakfast. We have a rule in our house - we don't go downstairs until the clock says 7:00. Otherwise, Aidan would want Daddy to make breakfast at 5:45 a.m.! This is acutally helping Aidan learn reading clocks though, as he watches it and asks us what time it is non-stop, etc.
Nikki Ducas November 16, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Thanks for joining the discussion, please feel free to continue sharing your experiences and making comments. I don't know about you but I find it cathartic knowing I am not on this journey alone. Stay dry!


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