Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 13; hereâs how to cope with initial loss of sleep
As Daylight Savings Time begins this coming Sunday, March 13, many of us will welcome the opportunity to spend more time outdoors with one extra hour of daylight.
However, the time change also means we will lose one hour of precious sleep, and when you wake up Monday morning, many people will feel sluggish and fatigued, reaching for that cup of joe for an energy boost.
Dr. Kendra Becker, a sleep medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente San Bernardino, says preparing your body for setting your clocks forward one hour will help you to better cope with the time change, as the effects on your sleep cycle could have dangerous consequences unless you take certain steps to minimize the impact.
âThis temporary loss of sleep can increase your tiredness, worsen your performance of tasks, and studies have shown it could also increase your risk of heart attacks and car accidents,â she cautioned. âChildren affected by sleep deprivation also have a harder time in school and potentially worsened behavior.â
Dr. Becker noted our internal sleep cycle often shifts and normalizes within a few days, or up to one week after Daylight Savings Time starts. She recommends doing the following to help you adjust and minimize any potential negative effects on your health:
â¢ Ideally, start preparing for the time change a couple of days before, as you would when you travel across time zones.
â¢ To help you better adjust your sleep cycle, start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for up to three to four days before the time change.
â¢ Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. This will help your brain secrete melatonin naturally and earlier in the evening to help with the shifting of your bodyâs internal clock.
â¢ Finally, practice good sleep hygiene: avoid electronics, late snacks, caffeine and alcohol before going to bed.
âLosing an hour of sleep may be challenging for many in the beginning, but it doesnât have to be hard,â Dr. Becker said. âItâs all about embracing the change and taking steps to minimize the impact. After all, we donât have a choice. The time change will take place whether we want it to or not, so from a health standpoint, we need to adjust and embrace it!â