What’s not to love about the spring? The days get longer, the weather gets warmer, and we can spend more time comfortably outside. The main drawback? Daylight saving time.
On March 14, 2021, at 2:00 A.M., we “spring ahead.” That means that clocks are moved ahead one hour. As a result, we lose an hour of sleep. That’s concerning since sleep deprivation is already a concern. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association. “70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night.”
Getting a good night’s sleep is beneficial to our mental and physical health. Cutting sleep too short has been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat. Sleep problems can also affect your mood, make it more difficult to cope with stress, and can be a predictor of generalized anxiety disorder.
A lack of sleep can also impact your alertness, comprehension, and memory, which can lead to a decrease in productivity. You may even be more prone to mistakes and accidents.
Thankfully, there are ways for you to adjust to the new time change to minimize the effects of daylight saving time. And, definitely make sure to pass these tips along to your family, in particular, your children.
1. Ease into earlier bedtimes and waking times.
Several days before, preferably 4 days before the time change to be exact, go to bed 15-minutes earlier and increase that 15-minute intervals each night. But, don’t sleep in. Wake-up each day 15-minutes earlier each day as well.
2. Stick to your schedule.
Maintain your current routine as much as possible. That means being consistent with the times that you eat, exercise, and work. And, during the following weekend, stick your sleep schedule as opposed to trying to catch-up on any sleep that you might have missed since daylight saving time.
3. Enjoy the longer evenings.
One of the best parts of daylight saving time is that it’s not getting dark as early in the afternoon. Use that to your advantage as natural light by spending more time outside or opening the curtains. This can help reset your body’s internal clock. Additionally, exposure to the sun increase serotonin boosts Vitamin D, lowers blood pressure, and improves your mental well-being.
4. Be mindful about what you’re eating and drinking.
If you drink caffeine throughout the day, try to have your last cup four to six hours before bedtime. You should also avoid drinking any alcohol too close to bedtime. And, do not eat anything two to three hours before bed -- especially spicy or fatty foods as they can lead to indigestion.
5. Take a nap.
If you feel sleepy on daylight saving time, which again is Sunday, March 14, it’s alright to take a nap in the afternoon. Just keep it short, around 15-to-20-minutes and not too close to your bedtime.
Also, take note of how you feel after the nap. If this makes sleeping throughout the night more difficult, then try to avoid naps in the future. If you feel revitalized, then taking a nap can become a part of your self-care routine when needed.
Many of us unwind by watching TV, scrolling through social feeds, or listening to podcasts. The problem is that electronic devices emit blue light that stimulates your brain. As a result, this can make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
It’s recommended that you avoid screens between 30-minutes to two-hours prior to bedtime. If you need another activity to help you unwind, read a book, write in a journal, or meditate.