Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins at 2 a.m. this Sunday, March 9th, extending our evening sunlight hours and stealing an hour of our sleep. Some of us have no issue adjusting, but others feel fatigued for days.
If you have trouble dealing with the change, thereâ€™s an obvious reason behind it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, American adults get an average of six hours and 51 minutes of sleep every night. While thatâ€™s not far off from the seven to nine hours that experts recommend, that lost hour makes a huge difference.
Although it takes most people only a couple days to adjust, those first few days can be full of trouble. A lack of sleep has effects on attention and mood, and studies have shown that on the Monday after the time change, the number of car crashes and workplace injuries increases, as do the numbers of heart attacks and of fatal, alcohol-related accidents.
So what can you to do fight the fatigue and keep your body on track? The following tips can help you adjust more easily to the time change:
- Get morning exercise in the sunlight on the weekend of the time change. Go outside, soak in the sun, and tire yourself out so you can be ready to relax in the evening and hit the hay early.
- Once itâ€™s dark outside, put your technology away. Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. The light coming from your computer and television screens can hurt your ability to fall asleep and your sleep cycle, so for the couple days before DST, start turning off your computers earlier than you normally would.
- Have a calming bedtime routine. Reading a book or taking a long bath are just a couple examples of how you can calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening. Both can have detrimental effects on your bodyâ€™s sleep cycle. Enjoy your coffee in the morning, and switch to decaf for the afternoon.
- Go to bed a little early the night before. Itâ€™s common knowledge that weâ€™re losing an hour of sleep for DST, so adjust your bedtime â€” you wonâ€™t regret it.
- Maintain your routine wake-up times, mealtimes and exercise. Whether weâ€™re â€œspringing forwardâ€ or â€œfalling backâ€ itâ€™s important to maintain your normal routine as much as possible. Following the same routine every day, whether itâ€™s a weekday or a weekend, will make any transition go much more smoothly.
Donâ€™t forget to change your clocks so youâ€™re not late for work, and when Monday comes, drive carefully.
SelectQuote wishes you a smooth transition and sweet dreams on Sunday.