Set your clocks, change is coming! 5 tips to adjust to daylight saving time
Do daylight saving time changes always manage to throw you for a loop each spring and fall? Trust us, you're not alone.
For many of us, daylight saving is a relatively minor inconvenience twice a year, maybe making us just a little more tired and irritable as our body adjusts. However, for others, it can trigger underlying health issues.
How does daylight saving affect our bodies?
Simply put, daylight saving time transitions generally lead to disrupted sleep cycles. On average, Americans lose 40 minutes of sleep when we set the clocks ahead in the spring. This can lead to issues in a person's mood, productivity, and diet, but it can also lead to bigger issues such as workplace injuries, car crashes, and even heart trouble.
So how can we adjust to the time change?
There are a variety of ways to adjust to the daylight saving time transition:
- Start your preparations early. To start prepping your body for the change, try going to bed 15-30 minutes before your usual bedtime to prepare your body for the hour that you're either losing or gaining. This is especially important if you have kids in the house as they'll generally need a little more help in adjusting their schedules.
- Consistency is key. No matter what, keep your bedtimes and any routines consistent. This will help your body regulate faster to the change.
- Put the electronics away. We mean it! Our electronics emit a high-intensity light that hinders melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleepiness. Try setting down your phone or tablet, turning off the TV, and grabbing a book instead an hour before you'd fall asleep.
- Watch what you drink. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after lunch and avoid drinking alcohol in the evening.
- Whatever you do, don't nap. While it's tempting to take a short cat nap (especially when we spring forward!) it's best to avoid them completely. Long daytime naps can make it harder for you to get a full night's sleep. If you do find yourself needing to take one, doctors recommend that they be taken early, and for no longer than 20 minutes.