Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the United States on Sunday, March 13 at 2 a.m., which means before going to bed on Saturday, we should turn our clocks forward one hour. Most people don’t sleep as much as they should, so losing an hour can lead to sleepiness and even disorientation. Since the vast majority of the U.S. observes daylight savings time, it’s essentially a nationwide experiment in jet lag.
So, how do you get through that first day or even few days of feeling “off” (or feeling exhausted) after springing forward? Here are five tips from SleepBetter.org:
- Try to start adjusting your sleep schedule before daylight savings time begins. Going to bed a little earlier every night and getting up a little earlier every morning, starting a few days before the time change, you can mitigate the shock to your system of losing an entire hour at once. Moving your bedtime and wake up time 15 minutes earlier for four nights in a row will do the trick.
- Avoid the temptation to nap. Science has shown there are benefits to napping, but in this case try to avoid it. If you’re truly exhausted on the first day of daylight savings time, give in and take a nap, but try to do it early in the afternoon rather than late in the day.
- 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.
- Keep the caffeine to a minimum. The first couple of days after daylight savings time maybe the time when you need a cup of coffee or a caffeinated soda the most, but try to avoid drinking them late in the afternoon, as they may keep you up later. Getting to bed earlier is the best thing to help you adjust.
- Try to avoid using pills. It may be hard to resist the urge to take a sleeping pill to help you go to bed earlier, or a stimulant to help you get up earlier, but adjusting the natural way is always best.
The good news is that if you follow these tips and just give it some time, you’ll be feeling yourself in no time.