Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 13th. This means that we will lose an hour of sleep Saturday night, going into Sunday as the clocks advance one hour. An hour may not sound like a lot, but it can still disrupt the natural rhythm that your body is used to, causing daytime drowsiness. We compiled a list of four tips to help you adjust your internal clock to the time change and have a smooth start to the longer spring evenings.
1. Start Adjusting Now
Help your body adjust to the time change by starting to shift your schedule gradually a couple of days before the time changes. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, and set an alarm to wake you up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to gradually work your way into the new schedule. In addition to your sleeping schedule, remember to adjust your other routines to the new schedule. Have meals and go to the gym a little bit earlier each day. When the time actually changes, you’ll be prepared for it and can avoid some of the drowsiness on Monday morning.
2. Get Out During Daylight Hours
Spending time outdoors during daylight hours helps your body adjust to the new schedule. If possible, get outside as soon as you wake up to enjoy the morning glow or head to the park in the afternoon. If it’s still dark outside when you wake up or other activities fill your afternoon, take a walk during your lunch hour to enjoy some of the daylight.
3. Dim the Lights Before Bed
While light is important during the day, it’s best to avoid exposure to bright lights when it starts getting dark outside. Bright lights may make your body believe that it’s morning and therefore, it’s time to be awake. So when the evening comes, dim the lights and avoid looking at bright screens such as your smartphone, tablet, laptop or TV. Instead, focus on relaxing activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.
4. Watch Your Meals
What you drink and eat close to bedtime can affect your ability to fall asleep, so watching your evening indulgences can help you adjust to the new schedule easier. Even though a nightcap can make you feel drowsy, it does not help you get quality sleep. For a good night’s rest, it’s better to skip the nightcap and have a cup of herbal tea or warm milk, instead. In addition, be cautious of caffeine. Enjoying your java late in the afternoon or in the evening can hinder your ability to fall asleep at night. Instead of caffeinated drinks, opt for fresh juice for vitamins and energy. When it comes to eating, avoid high-carb late night snacks for better sleep. If you’re hungry right before bedtime, have a yogurt or a piece of fruit, instead.
Everyone adjusts to the time change differently, and some of us need more time than others. However, even though these tips can help your body adjust to the start of daylight saving time, persistent sleep problems aren’t normal. If you or your bed partner suffers from prolonged sleep deprivation or persistent heavy snoring, seeing a certified sleep specialist is necessary as a severe sleep disorder may be the cause of these symptoms. Dr. Pasha always focuses on getting to the root of the problem in order to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. For example, a sleep study can be conducted in order find out the cause behind insomnia or snoring. Make an appointment today!