Daylight Saving Time is coming up next weekend on Sunday, 3/12/17. We all dread the Spring one since we all “lose” an hour and our sleep seems to be the most disrupted, so here are some tips to help you adjust better this year!
DST was originally created to make more use of daylight. As the winter months draw to a close and make way for spring, the sun will rise earlier and set later each day. Back in the day, before the age of clocks, people would rise with the sun to start the day’s work and adapt gradually to the change year-round. The idea to change the clocks to maximize daylight and conserve electricity was proposed by Englishman William Willett in 1905 and implemented in the US in 1918, after the world began operating on measured time and clocks. Check out History.com’s “8 Things You May Not Know about Daylight Saving Time”.
What can you do to avoid that Monday morning grogginess at work? (Please note, as with all of my tips and suggestions, these are exactly that. None of these are die hard rules, and you might want to avoid trying all of them at once- it’s overwhelming and frustrating. Instead, assess which of these really fit you and your current lifestyle before picking one or two to try.)
Cut the lights out a little earlier the night before.
Bright light suppresses our brain’s secretion of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep at night. So turn the lights out, turn off the TV/phones/screens, and think nice thoughts.
Go to bed and wake up a little earlier.
If you can, try going to bed and waking up a little earlier from now until next weekend. Try going to bed just 5 minutes earlier each night, and set your alarm for five minutes earlier each morning. By the time Sunday rolls around, it will be a more gradual change in your sleep and wake cycle.
Change your clocks…on Saturday.
If the previous trick did not work out for you, try changing the clocks in your house on Saturday instead of Sunday. Then go to sleep at your “usual” bedtime. For example, my bedtime is usually 11:30pm, so on Saturday night, I plan to hop into bed with the lights off when the clocks in my house say 11:30pm, but my cell phone still says 10:30pm.
If you have kids, this can be a fun experiment. Change the clocks without your kids knowing it on Saturday during the day, so that by night time, you can point to the clock and say, “Time to get ready for bed!”
Trick your brain.
Your thoughts are very powerful, so thinking, “I’m going to bed now because it is 11:30” instead of “Ugh, I have to go to bed early,” or “I’m losing an hour of sleep!” makes a difference on your ability to fall asleep.
Limit or avoid caffeine and naps on Saturday.
This will help ensure that your body is tired and definitely ready for bed when your bedtime comes that night.
Eat a lighter dinner on Saturday.
Our bodies do not get quality sleep when we sleep on a full stomach. Eating a lighter dinner on Saturday night not only encourages quality sleep, but also helps us be hungry in the morning when we eat breakfast earlier.
Go towards the light…on Sunday.
After you survive Saturday night, and to make sure your brain stays awake on Sunday, you will want to stay out in daylight as much as possible. The daylight keeps your body from secreting melatonin, the sleep hormone that was mentioned above.
Be active on Sunday.
Activity means energy burned, which means a more exhausted brain and body on Sunday night, which then means, a great night’s sleep on Sunday, which means you’ll be more ready to tackle whatever is thrown on your desk on Monday morning!