Spring Ahead: How to Adjust to Daylight Savings
By Community Sleep/Wake Services
This weekend is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. This means we will lose an hour of precious weekend sleep when the clocks are set to “spring forward” by Sunday morning. This can be problematic for some who have difficulty adjusting to the time change. For those who are sensitive to the time difference, the culprit is mild sleep deprivation that can affect attention, vigilance, learning and memory. Worse yet, recent data shows the rate of heart attacks, car accidents and injuries spikes during the Monday following daylight saving time.
Your Body's Clock
After a time change, the internal clocks in our bodies that regulate sleep and wake states need time to reset. This process can take up to 10 - 14 days! When the spring change rolls around, people with a "night owl" schedule may have a harder time adjusting to the change than those who are "early birds."
Tips to Adjust
Here are a few suggestions to help you adjust this weekend:
- Anticipate the time change by going to bed slightly earlier Friday and Saturday. This will help avoid sleep deprivation going into Monday morning.
- Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol this weekend. These substances will cause disrupted sleep.
- Use sunlight to your advantage. Pull back the curtains and let the sun shine in or spend as much time outdoors as possible. You are more likely to feel alert during the day and sleepier by nightfall.
- Conversely, limit light exposure at night. This will disrupt your ability to fall asleep at your new bedtime. This means no computers, iPads and iPhones or close proximity TV 2-3 hours before bedtime.
If your body clock isn't adjusting like it should, or you experience continual sleep disturbances, Community's sleep specialists can help. They are experts in circadian rhythms and general sleep disorders. First, talk to your family doctor about any sleep problems. If you need a doctor, please call for a referral at 800-777-7775.