For many, the changing of the clocks is associated with gaining or losing sleep. DST began Sunday and will end on the first Sunday in November.

“The main thing that people struggle with is the disruption of sleep,” Onslow County Health Department representative Victoria Reyes, said. “Getting ready to go to sleep a little earlier and waking up a little earlier can really help with that restless feeling.”

Reyes, with information provided by Health Educator Robin Seitz, offered suggestions for staying healthy and on schedule at the DST transition: keep some healthy snacks nearby and avoid that last cup of coffee in the day.

Lack of sleep can affect hormone levels, Reyes explained, which can lead to a possible increase in cravings for unhealthy food. Changes in appetite can be quelled by healthy food, though.

But the effects of resetting the clocks for DST is more pronounced in children, according to Lisa Brown, social worker with PEERS adolescent parenting program.

“Their little bodies require a lot of sleep anyway so that little hour can make a big difference,” Brown said.

Brown recommended the following to make the transition easier for all involved:

1. Expose children to a lot of sunlight throughout the day. According to Brown, melatonin levels are determined by sunlight and daytime sunlight helps ensure the children’s internal clocks are not offset.

2. Start calming the children a little before lights out and dim the lights to transition into a more calm environment.

3. Establish and stick to a routine. “If someone doesn’t have a routine now is a good time to start one,” Brown said. “This can be as simple as following a routine of putting on pajamas, brushing teeth and reading a book before lights out.”

4. Keep children away from screens at night. “Something that’s especially important now is minimizing screen time,” Brown said. “Because of the time change, the blue light from those screens tricks our body into thinking that it’s daylight and sunny.”

5. Be understanding. “They do require more sleep than adults do,” Brown said. “The problem is the parents are missing that hour, too, so they might might be a little grouchy, too.”

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