Many people have compared the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, when we “spring forward” to lose an hour, as a national experiment in jet lag or even sleep deprivation. Whether you like it or not, Daylight Saving Time for 2014 begins in the U.S. and multiple other countries at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9. And, if you’re not prepared for it, you may look like a zombie for a couple of days. Here are our five tips to survive the time change with the least amount of pain possible:
- DON’T set your clocks the night before. This tip comes directly from our own Dr. Lisa Shives, who says, “One tip I always give people is to NOT change their clocks before they go to bed unless they have to be somewhere in the morning. Go to bed at your normal time on Saturday night, then change your clocks when you get up on Sunday morning. In the end, you’ll get the same amount of sleep as you usually do, and it will seem like you woke up an hour later on Sunday morning, which isn’t unusual for a lot of people.”
- Plan ahead. Like anything in life, a little pre-planning will make the transition easier. Try to go to bed a little earlier each night leading up to the time change. If you do, the lost hour won’t be as much of a shock to you.
- Use light to reset your body clock. Utilizing bright light in the morning and dim light at night is the best way to adjust yourself to your new schedule. Eat breakfast in front of a window where the light shines in, and avoid bright lights in the evening.
- Take a short nap. If you find that you’re exhausted and disoriented in the early afternoon, lay down for a short nap. Don’t sleep for more than 20-30 minutes, however, and try to keep from taking your nap too late in the afternoon.
- Use caffeine if you have to. An extra cup of coffee on the day of the time change or the day after is no big deal. Try to avoid it in the afternoon, however, as it may keep you from sleeping well at night.
Have you ever wondered how much that “lost hour” of sleep costs? In 2013, SleepBetter crunched the numbers and figured it out. Click to learn the Cost of the Lost Hour.