Does Springing Ahead Throw You Off Your Sleep Routine?

Yesterday, we began Daylight Savings Time after forwarding our clocks one hour ahead the night before. The benefit of this time change is having extended daylight in the evenings until the fall.

For many, this is a big hoorah. It simply means tolerating less sleep for one night out of the year and, perhaps, having an extra cup of coffee in the morning. For others, it means undergoing the torture of losing one hour sleep if they do not choose to go to bed earlier in the evening.

Adjusting to Daylight Savings time does throw off the circadian rhythm that regulates our wake-sleep cycle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can take up to a week for a person’s body to adjust to the lost hour of sleep. This is especially the case for individuals who receive less than seven hours of sleep or tend to turn in early to get up early.

Some people will manage this change well while other will spend several nights adjusting. Here are some tips, recommended by UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, to help with the adjustment if you fall into the latter group.

  • Be consistent with your sleep schedule. Basically, go to sleep at the same time every night and permit yourself to receive at least eight hours of sleep.
  • Avoid coffee and other stimulants. (Easier said than done, right?) Also avoid alcohol if you are using this to help you sleep.
  • Soak up the sun as much as possible. No need to go to the beach for this. Simply step outside or open up your curtains and take as much sun as possible to help you adjust to the time change.
  • If you normally struggle with sleep, avoid exposure to artificial lights for two hours before bedtime. This includes light from smartphones, TVs, and computers.
  • Make sure that all clocks in your home are manually changed to reflect the correct time.

Wishing everyone a good night’s sleep.
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