How to Adjust to Daylight Savings Time - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on March 04, 2014

How to Adjust to Daylight Savings Time

It’s probably safe to assume you’re sick of the snow, so let’s talk about something hopeful; a sign of sunnier, warmer weather in the not-too-distant future and Daylight Savings Time.

That’s right, this weekend we will be “springing forward” on Sunday, March 8. In both the United States and Europe, these time changes occur twice a year; once in November and once in March, to help people adapt to the changing seasons.

While not everyone will be physically and/or emotionally impacted by moving the clock ahead an hour, there are those who will. In fact, the time change can affect your stress and energy levels, mood and how well you sleep. As a result, it’s important that we prepare our bodies for a smooth transition.

Here are some easy ways to do it:

Exercise: Physical activity, especially if it’s in the morning, is a great way to boost your energy levels and tire you out so you can fall asleep easily at night. Try yoga in the morning or go for a run after work. With the extra hour of light at night (and hopefully warmer weather!) you’ll get a chance to spend more time outside in the sun.

Spend time outdoors: Getting extra sunlight isn’t just a great way to boost your mood and immune system (thanks to Vitamin D), but it can also help regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls when you go to sleep and wake up.

Go to sleep earlier: Take advantage of the week or two prior to Daylight Savings Time by going to bed 15 minutes earlier at night. This will help your body better adjust to losing an hour of sleep when the time change occurs. Additionally, start relaxing an hour before bed to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. This can include reading before bed, taking a warm bath and/or having a cup of chamomile tea.

Wake up earlier: Start waking up 15 minutes earlier than usual as well—even on weekends!

Melatonin: Although the body naturally produces this hormone to help regulate sleep, not everyone makes enough of it. As a result, taking melatonin supplements may be helpful for those individuals. It may be good for shift workers as well. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering this.

Eat right: Avoid eating a large meal within three hours of bedtime. If you’re looking for a late-night snack, go for something that supports sleep, such as almonds, yogurt or apples with peanut butter. A glass of milk will also do the trick.

Limit Caffeine: Since it’ll be hard enough to fall asleep at night due to the time change, cut off your caffeine intake in the early afternoon.

Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers offer a multidisciplinary approach to the identification and treatment of all types of adult and pediatric sleep disorders. To make an appointment, visit our website or call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703).

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