Adjusting your sleep habits to prepare for Daylight Saving Time
SPOKANE, Wash. — The start of Daylight Saving Time is now just days away — this Sunday, March 13 at 2 a.m.
Each year, we set our clocks forward and lose an hour of sleep — but should we be concerned about how that loss of sleep affects our bodies?
While it’s great to have brighter days on the way, the transition to Daylight Saving Time can be a rough one.
According to the Sleep Foundation, the reason why some of us start the work week feeling tired after the time change is because losing that hour of sleep disrupts our circadian rhythm — the 24-hour cycle that regulates sleep, appetite and our moods.
Circadian rhythms are largely dependent on light exposure.
The darker mornings and brighter evenings that come with Daylight Saving Time delay the sleep-wake cycle.
That’s why you may feel tired in the morning and more alert in the evenings for a while after springing forward.
This circadian misalignment can lead to sleep loss or even “sleep debt” which is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
The adjustment can be rough, but the Sleep Foundation provides these tips online for how to prepare for Daylight Saving Time each year.
First, make a point to practice good sleep hygiene. This means making changes that influence your sleep for the better.
Establish a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day — even the weekends.
About two to three days ahead of the time change — this would be starting tomorrow or Friday — try waking up about 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual.
Then on Saturday before the time change, wake up another 15 to 20 minutes earlier.
Adjusting your wake up time gradually will help make the transition smoother.
Spending time in natural light outdoors can help alleviate tiredness throughout the day and if you need to take a nap, make sure it’s not longer than 20 minutes so you don’t wake up feeling groggy.
Lastly, don’t consume caffeine within six hours of bedtime as it can disrupt your sleep cycle.
These tips are good for not only preparing for Daylight Saving Time, but improving sleep habits year-round.
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