March 14 kicks off daylight saving time. Moving the clock forward doesn’t just affect your schedule, it can throw off your body’s internal clock too. Losing that one hour of sleep can leave you feeling groggy and irritable, as well as affect your productivity, concentration and both physical and mental health.
Adjusting to the time change is different for everyone. Some people adjust in a few days, while for others, it takes more time. Fortunately, here are some tips for dealing with the time change.
How to Cope with Daylight Saving Time
A few days before springing forward, start going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Your body needs that bit of extra time to make up for the lost hour.
It’s important that you stay consistent with your schedule. Once you’ve eased into it, make a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on the weekends!). This will help your body regulate its sleep cycle.
So, on the first Sunday of daylight saving time, get up at your regular time whether you had a good night’s sleep or not. And avoid taking a nap if it’s not part of your typical routine.
One great perk about spring and daylight saving time is that there is more sunlight in the evenings. Enjoy the natural lighting outside or indoors with your curtains open because sunlight helps naturally reset your body clock. Letting natural light come into your bedroom in the morning also aids in greater alertness upon awakening.
Being physically active is good for your health and it can help you sleep better too. Go for a walk or run outdoors during the day where you are exposed to natural sunlight. And bring along a reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated.
Eat dinner earlier in the evening to help your body prepare for bedtime. Try to avoid spicy or fatty foods because they can lead to indigestion and insomnia. Put down coffee and caffeinated drinks at least four to six hours before bedtime so you can fall asleep more easily. Avoid alcohol late at night because it prevents you from getting quality sleep.
Do not use electronics an hour before bedtime. Light from TVs, computers, tablets and cell phones can stimulate your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime and making falling asleep harder.
Transitions to daylight saving can throw off your body’s internal clock, but with a little TLC, you’ll eventually adjust to the change.