Daylight Savings Time’s Affect on Sleep
In addition to giving way to warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, Daylight Savings Time (DST) offers other benefits, such as reducing energy consumption, car accidents, and crime rates due to the longer daylight hours.
With the benefits of longer daylight hours, there is also the prospect of throwing off our sleep schedules (at least for a short time). According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average person loses 45 minutes of sleep on Monday after DST starts compared to other nights of the year. In addition, studies have shown that the body never fully acclimates to DST, which can cause people to put demands at work, school, and home over getting a full night’s sleep. Also, lack of sleep can exacerbate some health issues, such as depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Tips to Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep
- Establish Bedtime Rituals for a good night’s sleep, including turning off the TV 30 minutes before bed, setting your phone to sleep mode (or turning off the phone) at least 30 minutes before bed, meditating right before bedtime, and creating a calm, relaxing environment.
- Practice Good Sleep Hygiene by not consuming alcohol right before bed, eating lighter meals, and refraining from snacking right before bed. Also, avoid caffeine before bedtime or later in the day.
- Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including the weekends. If you go to bed before the sun sets, use blackout curtains to block the light.
- Gradually Alter Your Bedtime starting two to three days before the time change. Sleep experts recommend waking up 15-20 minutes earlier than usual, and on the Saturday before the DST time change, set your alarm 15-20 minutes earlier than usual to make a smoother transition.
- Put Down the Phone while in bed. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by phones affects the level of melatonin production, causing your brain to feel more energized. Many phones now offer the ability to set sleep modes on phones, which suppresses app access and notifications for a set time during the night. But sleep experts say that even having the phone near your bed can increase the temptation to check social media, regardless of the time, altering your sleep pattern, so putting the phone somewhere away from the bed can help curb the temptation to check it at night.
Resetting your sleep cycle can take some time, and even that single-hour shift in the spring and the fall can be jarring. But with consistent sleep habits and a little planning, you can ease the transition for you and your family.