5 Tips to Help Cope with Daylight Saving Time
On Sunday, March 10th, it’s time again to push our clocks up an hour and to lose that oh so precious hour of sleep. That’s right, it’s almost time to once again Spring Forward for Daylight Saving. The term “spring forward” is used to describe a practice of changing standard time with the intention of “saving” (as in make better use of) natural light. During daylight savings time (DST), clocks are turned ahead one hour, so that the sun rises later in the morning and sets later in the evening.
Some people say “It’s only one hour, right? What’s the big deal?” Well, for those that have trouble sleeping, this valuable hour can mean the difference between feeling rested and feeling our Circadian rhythms being thrown off track. If the thought of changing your clocks and adjusting your sleep schedule makes you groan, you’re not alone. With our fast-paced lives and busy schedules, it’s hard enough to get an adequate amount of sleep as it is.
Even though this time change means the promise of warmer months and lighter mornings, losing an hour of sleep is not an insignificant amount. It’s enough to leave you feeling groggy and disoriented and it can take up to a week for you to get back on track with your normal sleep schedule. You and millions of other Americans, that is.
Luckily for you, we have a few tricks up our sleeve that will help you to prevent and cope with possible sleepy effects of Daylight Saving Time. Below are our top five tips to help you recover from the inevitable loss of sleep coming your way.
The best way to prepare to Spring Forward is to gradually ease into your new sleep schedule. Try going to bed earlier and waking up earlier every day in 15 minute increments. That way, by the time Daylight Saving Time comes around, you will already have adjusted to your new sleep schedule. Of course, depending on when you’re reading this, it may be too late to implement this strategy.
Don’t Sleep In
No matter how tempted you are to hit snooze and make up that extra hour of sleep, do your best to continue getting up at your usual time. Otherwise, you will just make it harder on yourself to re-adjust to your normal sleep schedule in the long term.
Take A Nap
The first day of Daylight Saving Time can be rough. If you need it, allow yourself to take a short nap, no longer than 20 minutes, in the early afternoon. An afternoon nap is far better for regulating your sleep schedule than sleeping late in the morning.
Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Going to sleep an extra hour earlier can be just as tough as waking up an hour earlier. Help your body to adjust by engaging in relaxing activities before bedtime. For example, you could take a warm bath, drink caffeine-free tea, journal, or read a book. Whatever you do, avoid watching intense TV shows or staring at your phone screen right before bed.
Get More Exercise
Exercising more when you’re already sleep deprived may sound counter-intuitive but hear me out. Even moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, can help you sleep better. There’s nothing like a solid workout to help you konk out when bedtime rolls around. Just be sure you don’t exercise too late in the evening, or it could have the opposite effect.
When it comes to sleep, quality is largely influenced by comfort. Making sure you have soft and comfortable bedding can be the key to quality sleep and adjusting to Springing forward.