Daylight Saving Time: 4 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust
What’s the best way to help your body adjust to Daylight Savings Time? Our expert offers tips for reducing time-change sleepiness.
Moving the clock forward one hour in the spring and back one hour in the fall doesn’t just affect your schedule — it can throw off your body’s internal clock, too.
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That hour of sleep that’s lost or gained can leave you feeling groggy and irritable. It can also be dangerous. Studies have found that both heart attacks and fatal car accidents increase after the spring shift to Daylight Saving Time.
“In a nation that is already sleep deprived, losing an extra hour can make a huge impact,” says sleep specialist Harneet Walia, MD.
Adjusting to the time change is different for everyone. Some people adjust in a few days; for others, it takes more time. For your health and safety, Dr. Walia offers these tips for dealing with the time change:
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids! It’s also important for adults to establish good sleep hygiene habits.
Before bed, slow your body down. Raising your body’s core temperature can make it harder to sleep, so avoid heavy workouts within a few hours of bedtime.
Put your phone, computer or tablet away. Turn off the television and pick up a non-suspenseful book. (Electronics’ high-intensity light stimulates your brain and hinders melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness.)
Staying consistent with the amount of sleep you get each night helps, too — and that includes weekends. “Sleeping in on weekends may sound like a good idea, but it can disrupt your sleep cycle,” Dr. Walia says.
Last but not least, use the bed only for sleeping. “Your mind adjusts to the habit of getting into bed for sleep,” she says.