It’s only a matter of time before we ‘spring forward’ and our clocks jump ahead an hour. While Daylight Saving Time (DST) can bring in more sunlight during the summer months, it can also disrupt our body’s sleep-wake cycle. Nonetheless, with a little preparation and the right strategies, you can adjust your circadian rhythm and get the restful sleep you need.
Here are some of our Daylight Saving Tips:
Tip #1: Get Ahead of the Game
Days before the clocks change, start to adjust your bedtime and wake-up time by 10-15 minutes earlier each day. This will help you ease into the transition rather than all of a sudden forcing your body to shift. You can also adjust mealtimes and your other daily routines if necessary.
Tip #2: Start Small
Don’t shock your body’s inner clock by forcing it to adjust too quickly. Start off with small changes, like eating an hour earlier or getting your dose of caffeine a little later in the day. As mentioned, you can set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier each day until you reach the time change. Drastically changing your sleep-wake routine can lead to fatigue and difficulty focusing throughout the day, so don’t rush it.
Tip #3: Ditch the Caffeine and Alcohol
During daylight saving time, avoiding drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol is especially important. Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep while alcohol can have the opposite effect, making us feel sleepy and causing us to wake up in the middle of the night.
You can still get your usual coffee fix but try to cut down on consumption in the afternoon and evening.
Tip #4: Watch Your Blue Light Exposure
Blue light from devices like smartphones, computers, and televisions can interfere with our body’s natural sleep cycle. It can block the body’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. To get a good night’s rest, try not to use these devices for at least an hour before bed. Limiting your scroll time won’t just help you get better sleep but can also improve your mental health in the long run.
Tip #5: Avoid Afternoon Naps and Get Moving!
Losing an hour’s worth of sleep doesn’t mean you can ditch working out and just take a long nap in the afternoon. Exercise can help boost your energy and mood, so try to get outside for a walk or jog each day. Moreover, try avoiding those siestas. Taking a nap too close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep and leave you feeling more tired than before. Save those sleepy moments for the weekend and aim to stick to a consistent sleep and exercise schedule during the workweek.
Here’s to Having Uninterrupted Sleep This Spring!
With our exhausting daily grind and busy schedules, losing even just an hour of sleep can be a hard adjustment. Fortunately, with the right strategies and preparation, you don’t have to sacrifice your sleep-wake cycle and your just-woke-up glow. We hope this quick guide helps you and your family get through this Daylight Saving Time transition quickly and easily. Here’s to great sleep and a productive, healthy spring!
For more health tips and tricks, visit the Hudson Physicians’ blog or check out the Optimal Health Podcast!