McMaster University

McMaster University

Spring forward, lose some sleep

The Hamilton Spectator
Molly Hayes
March 10, 2012

It might not sound like much, but the hour of sleep you'll lose this Sunday when the clocks spring forward can really throw you out of whack — especially children.

The switch to eastern daylight time (EDT) comes this Sunday at 2 a.m.

That's right on the eve of March break, so Dr. Herbert Brill, a pediatric gastroenterologist at McMaster, says it's especially important for children to get their sleep Sunday night if moms and dads want to avoid a week of cranky kids.

“My biggest piece of advice when it comes to scheduling with children is, one, have a schedule and, number two, be very flexible about it,” said Brill, who has two young kids of his own.

A full hour change all at once can be jolting, so Brill suggests starting the bedtime or naptime process a little bit earlier each night — say, in 15 minute increments each day — until things fall back into place.

“Kids like to have their schedule, and sometimes when there's any change in that schedule there can be a few days of adjustment to get used to it,” he said.

Daylight saving time means it's also time to test your smoke alarms.

Hamilton firefighters recommend testing and changing the battery each time you change your clocks.

For people in the city who cannot afford to or cannot physically install or maintain smoke alarms themselves, Hamilton Emergency Services' free Alarmed and Ready program will send firefighters to your home for installation, replacements and checks.

Union Gas has donated over $20,000 to the program — including a $2,500 cheque they presented to Deputy Fire Chief David Cunliffe on Friday — which has allowed the program to purchase 2,800 smoke alarms for vulnerable Hamiltonians.

For more information or to sign up, call 905-546-3382.


Make the most of extra sun

You'll lose an hour of sleep, but with an extra hour of sunlight, why not:

• Throw a BBQ and get to know your neighbours.

• Work on your tan.

• Squeeze in an early morning jog … or an evening drink on the porch.

• Play a game of street hockey, or play hooky and hike the Bruce Trail.

• Finally file your tax return.

Surviving the adjustment

Dr. Brill suggests:

• Ease into it slowly. Stretch out the bedtime ritual by a half hour, or adjust your schedule gradually each day by just 15 minutes, so that by the end of the week the change is virtually unnoticeable.

• Or just don't do anything! Wait for your body to adjust and keep reminding yourself you'll get that hour back come November.

• If all else fails, make a medium coffee a large, Monday morning.



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