Setting the clocks forward an hour in the springtime and back an hour in the autumn affects more than just your calendar. It may also put your body’s internal clock off balance. The hour of sleep gained or lost might leave you sluggish and cranky. Additionally, it may be harmful. Heart attacks and deadly automobile accidents have risen after the spring switch to Daylight Saving Time.
“In a country which is already deprived of sleep, missing one hour might have a significant effect,” says Harneet Walia, MD, a sleep expert. Everyone adjusts differently to the time shift. Some individuals acclimate within a few days; others take longer. Dr. Walia gives the following advice for adjusting to the time change for your safety and health:
- Prepare a few days in advance: Dr. Walia suggests that you begin sleeping 15 to 30 minutes earlier than normal, around one week before “springing forward.” Your body needs more time to compensate for the hour missed.
- Set and stick to a strict timetable: Maintain consistency in your eating, social, sleeping, and exercise schedules throughout the Daylight Saving Timeshift. Dr. Walia adds that exposing oneself to strong light in the morning will also aid adjustment.
- Avoid long naps: It’s easy to close your eyes in the middle of the day, particularly if you’re feeling lethargic. However, avoiding naps is critical for adapting to the time change since prolonged daytime naps may make it more difficult to sleep through the night.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages and coffee: Four to six hours before night, abstain from coffee and caffeinated drinks. Additionally, alcohol impairs your ability to sleep well, so avoid it late at night.
Habits that will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Bedtime practices are not limited to children! Adults should also develop healthy sleep hygiene practices. Before going to bed, slow your body down. Elevating your body’s core temperature might make sleeping more difficult, so avoid strenuous exercise within a few hours of the night.
Place your cellphone, laptop, or tablet in a safe place. Switch off the tv and pick up a book that is not suspenseful. (Strong light from electronics triggers the mind and inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces slumber.)
Maintaining a constant quantity of sleep each night also helps, including weekends. “While sleeping in on weekends may seem appealing, it might disturb your sleep pattern,” Dr. Walia explains.