This Sunday marks the start Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the United States. Although this brings the benefit of longer and (hopefully) brighter days, turning the clocks forward also means getting an hour less of sleep!
The twice-yearly process of changing the clocks can be pretty disruptive to our bodies. In fact, it’s common to spend the days following the change feeling a little jet-lagged, with your sleep pattern taking anything up to a few weeks to settle into the time shift.
How will this affect you? World sleep expert, Prof. Espie, explains:
Changing the clocks forces our own internal body clock to re-synchronise. That can take a few days and it leaves us feeling more tired throughout the day as our bodies catch up. Once we’ve acclimatised to the new sleep schedule, sleep quality should settle at normal levels once again.
So, although the clocks will indeed be “springing” forward, our bodies may take some time to catch up. Here are three ways you can make the clock change easier on yourself:
Re-set your own body clock
It can help to gradually change your sleep pattern in the week before the clocks change so you’re not doing it all in one go. Over the week, shift the times you go to bed and wake up by just 15 minutes – that’s 15 minutes earlier by the way! So by the time Sunday hits, you’re already there!
Respect the clock on Sunday
Avoid the temptation to lie in on Sunday morning! It’ll make the rest of your week easier if you wake up at your normal time according to the clock… even though you’ll feel like it’s an hour too early!
Make the most of daylight
Natural light helps kickstart your waking process. So once you’re awake on Sunday, get out and enjoy as much of the day as you can! This will help you sleep better on Sunday night and hopefully help avoid that jet-lag feeling on Monday morning.
So, even if next week feels like a real struggle, try to remember that nicer weather is on its way to thaw us out of this winter gloom!