It seems odd to be “springing” forward when I’m still sloshing through the mud left behind by record winter snowstorms. This Sunday clocks adjust forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time, leaving many Monday morning commuters groggy, sleep-deprived and searching for the nearest java joint. If you’re usually one of those dazed drivers, there are some simple strategies that you can start implementing today that will leave you refreshed and alert when you hit the streets next week.
A 5-Day Plan to Ease into Daylight Saving Time
Sleep experts suggest that there are several ways you can combat the initial turmoil that losing an hour of sleep causes your internal clock. The key is having a plan and starting early.
A Few Days Before (Thursday/Friday)
- Ease into the time change by incrementally getting up a little bit earlier each day. It’s sort of like getting into a cold swimming pool. Some people need to ease in one toe at a time (me) while others cannonball straight off the diving board.
- Stay active with a regular workout routine. Physical activity has shown to help regulate circadian rhythm.
The Day Before (Saturday)
- Get to bed on time and get a good night’s sleep. (This is not the weekend to decide to pull an all-nighter watching the new season of House of Cards.) In fact, you may need to avoid any screen time while you’re in bed.
The Day Of (Sunday)
- Resist the temptation to sleep in. Get up at your regular time and start the day.
- Exercise early in the day to jumpstart your body clock.
- Go to bed at your regular time. Use blackout shades with children that are having a hard time going to bed when it’s still light outside.
The Day After (Monday)
- Open the blinds and get outdoors. Nothing kicks your circadian rhythm back into gear like daylight. If your schedule requires that you wake up when it’s still dark out, use lights with a high color rendering index (CRI). The closer the CRI is to 100, the more it resembles daylight. (Here’s one that does the trick.)
- Forgo the afternoon cup o’ joe. Java is the elixir for the sleep-deprived and coffee shops probably rub their hands together with glee when Daylight Saving Time begins. Try to avoid it after lunch so it doesn’t affect your sleeping that night.
Every year, adding an hour of daylight wreaks temporary havoc on my internal body clock. But I’ve found that it’s easier to prepare for Daylight Saving Time than it is to recover from the aftermath.
Does springing forward an hour mess with your sleep patterns or do you breeze right through it? Have you ever tried any of these tactics or have your own secret weapon for dealing with the post-Daylight-Saving-Time daze?