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Children and Circadian Rhythm

Discussion in 'Optimal Kids' started by tweety, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. tweety

    tweety New Member

    Spinoff from Cavemam's question to Dr. Kruse



    So Dr. K answered kids should always follow the light. I am very curious about this one. My kids seem to do this naturally, because they are always up early in the summer and tend to sleep in for the winter months. Now mine are 9 and soon to be.... and a bedtime of 8:30 or 9pm is alright with me. But what about winter? It gets dark around 5:30 or 6 for a while, and I can't see them going to bed so early this coming winter.



    I do manage to get them in bed closer to 7:30, but as they get older I think that will be more challenging. I know I have read about some of you going by candlelight once the sun goes down...



    What are your plans or experiences? Kids ages? How do they respond?
     
  2. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Sleep for children is all about habit........this is why they invented Teddy Bears. Put them down and give no options.
     
  3. tweety

    tweety New Member

    Mine dont really have options! I am just thinking about winter time. We homeschool, so our schedule is usually up to us. However, I am finding the older they get, the later their activities get scheduled. Not by my doing, but by the establishments and studios that provide these activities. Our schedule is more and more being dictated by the outside world.



    In fact, my kids are usually in bed in their room and we'll hear our neighbors kids outside until 10 or 11pm throughout the year. Its crazy to me, but I always wonder what my children think about going to sleep listening to their friends outside screaming and running around! They never say anything though, so it clearly doesn't bother them too much.



    Actually, my kids have always followed this rhythm, just because we don't usually have anything to be ready for. And I will agree that their dispositions, and moods, and behaviors in general are awesome when we do this. When its interrupted for a late night or super early morning, they become bears!
     
  4. nonchalant

    nonchalant Silver

    I think running around screaming outside is nicer in the mornings, when the mosquitos aren't as bad. :)

    (Not to say I run around and scream outside... Well, I'd like to sometimes.)
     
  5. bigknitwit

    bigknitwit Silver

    My kids really follow the sun as well. But in the dead of winter it is dark here (in NH) around 4 - 4:30pm. There's no way they'll be in bed at that time (they are 11, 9, 6, and 3). I may need to invest in the yellow glasses, but it's not like my 6 year old will be wearing them during her team gymnastics practices. I don't really see a way around it, without withdrawing from their activities.
     
  6. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    my youngest is up at 5/530 every day... oldest... we can put her to bed at 8pm, and she'll lie awake and talk until 10. I know its not good for her...just haven't figured out the optimal schedule for both of them yet!!! of course If I go back to work on site w/a client - they'll both be getting up at 5/530 every day!
     
  7. KiwiLauren

    KiwiLauren Gold

    We're in the middle of winter and it's dark at 5pm. I don't put my kids to bed at 5pm but we don't use any artificial lighting. It's candlelight only (and there is one salt lamp in the hallway). They do their homework by candlelight, brush their teeth and change clothes by candlelight, play games by candlelight, etc. We have dinner much earlier (usually by 4pm) and they are in bed by 7:30 or 8:00 at latest. My kids are 8 and 11. They both wake, on their own without alarms, just before sunrise. They know that come summer they will be able to stay up later if they wish and we'll have longer hours of light. My son has one evening of rugby practice per week - it lasts until 5:30pm. It's outdoors without artificial light. I whisk him home immediately he comes home to a house lit only by candlelight.



    As I said on another thread, they complained in the beginning, but we've been doing this for many months now and it's just normal. They both sleep much better, fall asleep quickly and sleep solidly. We have not used the glasses - all screens go off at nightfall and it's strictly candles. They think I'm nuts and don't want their friends to sleep over until it's summertime, but they're going with it. I've also noticed that our evenings are much calmer, which is a bonus.
     

  8. You rock. That is so awesome.
     
  9. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    That is how we roll too.......
     
  10. kathylu

    kathylu Gold

    Bedtime for our 5 year old is in bed no later than 8 pm year round and he's usually asleep by 8:15. He tends to get up shortly after sunrise for between 10 and 11 hours of sleep. He feels so much better (and we do too!) than when his sleep is irregular. He was still demanding a nightlight to keep the monsters away, so I gave in. However, I go in and turn it off shortly after he falls asleep. Once I started doing that, he almost immediately started sleeping an extras 45 minutes to 1 hour each night. Amazing how 4 watts of light can affect your sleep cycle!
     
  11. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    Kathylu



    thats funny dd has to have a nightlight... ds will wake up in the middle of the night and turn it off...she doesn't notice, unless she wakes up to go potty... kinda funny...
     
  12. tweety

    tweety New Member

    I never thought about the nightlight! My kids share a room. My youngest falls asleep immediately and sleeps late. My oldest like Shijin said, goes to bed at 8ish, but sings or talks for a long time. But its still benefical because at least she's in a dark room, not in a room with artificial lights.



    I posed your idea KiwiLauren about the candlelights for winter. I got more interest than I thought I would! I think I will have to try this out. We cut out TV a long time ago and their computer usage has always been daytime use, so its just letting go of our household lights.
     
  13. KiwiLauren

    KiwiLauren Gold


    Definitely not my idea but I was surprised, too, at how relatively easy the switch to no-lightbulbs actually was. I confess that I spend a LOT of time feeling incompetent about how to handle all the dietary issues and potential health concerns I have for both me and my family. I found the circadian cycles thing to be an area that was basically easy to implement, not at all confusing to understand/know what to do, and quick to see benefit from. No supplements need to be purchased, no convincing anyone to get in a 50 degree bathtub, and straightforward. My cup of tea! :)
     

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