Spring ahead, fall back. Twice a year we change the clocks to either gain or lose an hour of beloved sleep. We wind the clocks back in the fall and gain that much needed extra hour of shut eye. In the spring, we lose an hour and are all of a sudden sent into a tailspin of rushed obligations and sleep deprivation. Understandably, it is easier to get accustomed to that extra hour in the fall – or so we think. Any time change can throw the body off balance, and changing the clock in the fall makes our days shorter and the nights longer with people getting up an hour earlier than they are used to.
It takes about a week to adjust to the shift during daylight savings time for both the fall and spring. Meanwhile, here are some tips you can start in advance to make the transition a bit easier.
- Start adjusting ahead of schedule
- Adjust your sleep schedule by 10-15 minutes for a few days before the end of Daylight Savings Time.
- Although it is easy to give in the snooze button, waking up to exercise is a good way to kickstart the day. Exercising, particularly in the morning, releases serotonin in the brain, which helps the body adapt to the time change.
- Wake up at the same time
- Keeping a regular sleep schedule helps regulates the body. After a while, your body will get used to the rhythm of going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- This one should be simple. Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with sleep. If you already have trouble falling asleep, avoiding these two items can aid in sleep.
- Resist the nap
- It is best to avoid taking a nap during Daylight Savings Time, because it may make falling asleep for the night more difficult. If you really can’t avoid a nap, it is recommended to take a power nap that is no longer than 20 minutes.
- Avoid late night snacking
- Eating too late at night can cause indigestion, which may lead to insomnia as your stomach works over time to digest. It is best to finish dinner a few hours before bedtime.
- If all else fails, it is important to remember to relax. Stressing and worrying about not being able to fall asleep can actually keep you up longer. Don’t worry, eventually sleep will come. If it doesn’t, it may be important to consult a doctor because you may be suffering from a more serious sleeping condition.