Daylight Saving Time in spring tends to mess with people’s sleep because we lose an hour of valuable time. That might not seem like much, but it’s valuable light and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that our body relies on night after night.
3 reasons why we don’t feel good with the time change
There are three factors that contribute to why we don’t feel so great with the time change. First, the most obvious one, we lose an hour of sleep. Second, it’s suddenly darker in the morning and our body’s melatonin production doesn’t stop, hence we feel sleepy and groggy. Third, for just that one hour of sleep shift, it takes about a week for our body clocks to fully shift (we have lots of them all over the body).
If it were up to me, I would stop this changing of time back and forth. Research shows that the number of car accidents and health issues spike the week after springing forward.
Ways to make the one-hour transition easier
Let’s see what changes can be made to make this one-hour transition easier.
- If you are reading this email on Thursday afternoon, plan to go to sleep 15 minutes earlier for the next few nights. You will have 4 nights until Monday morning, so 15 minutes each night of going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier will shift your time by an hour. Start winding down more, and refrain from staying up late over the weekend, as it will make the transition even harder.
- Get up and get going in the morning. There is no greater message to the body to wake up fully than getting up, drinking a glass of water, and doing 10 minutes of exercise. It could be some yoga, some sit-ups, push-ups, running in place, etc. Or even going out into the crisp air for just 10 minutes. Trust me, your body will get the message to fully wake up! Exposure to light would be great, but if it’s still dark, it helps a lot if you just move. If you happen to have a 10,000-lux light therapy unit, great! Use that every morning for the next week or so, for 20 minutes right after getting out of bed. (Or you can buy one online here).
- You probably won’t be hungry, even if you typically eat within an hour of waking up, since the clock is shifted. Eat anyway, as it will also help adjust your body clock. Eat within 30 minutes to an hour of waking up. If you are truly not hungry, have a protein smoothie, or a protein drink with collagen powder. Have only a small amount of carbs, and plenty of protein and healthy fats to stabilize your blood sugar. If you have too many carbs in the morning, you may experience a big crash in energy later.
- Since I said no to sleeping in, I do have a way for you to get some extra rest. Plan for 20 to 30 minutes to lie down between 1 and 3pm. It doesn’t matter if you actually doze off or not, but just the act of lying down will encourage a healthier circadian rhythm and give you some needed rest. Listen to something lovely, put a sleep mask on, put a blanket over you, set an alarm clock, and enjoy. Or read my article about napping. In it, I explain all about why you should do it and how you should do it.
- Most importantly, take it easy for the next week. Give yourself a break, work a bit less, treat yourself more, be gentle to your body, and remember that everyone adjusts differently.
Following these tips for springing ahead during Daylight Saving Time will make your transition smoother and easier.
I am always here to help, so if you have questions, schedule a free consult below.