Updated at: 11-04-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Most of the United States and Canada, as well as a few other nations, observe Daylight Saving Time (DST), which begins in March and ends in November. For the months of November through March, these locations use standard time.

On select weekends in the United States, the time shifts from standard to daylight saving time.

  • On the second Sunday of March, clocks go forward an hour at 2 a.m.
  • At 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November, clocks are turned back an hour.

A one-hour time change can have a significant impact on people’s sleep patterns. When the clocks go forward in March, the amount and quality of sleep can be affected. As a result, several sleep-deprived persons mistakenly believe that the extra hour of DST in November will relieve their sleep debt, although long-term sleep changes are frequently required.

Daylight Saving Time: 4 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust – Cleveland Clinic

Short-term increases in heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, ER visits, and mood disorders have been linked to the advent of Daylight Saving Time, according to research. Due to the time shift, sleep deprivation can have an effect on one’s ability to make decisions, as well as one’s productivity. Falling back in the autumn is related with less negative health impacts, but some abnormalities have been observed, such as an increase in the use of psychoactive substances among men aged 20 and older.

When you change your clocks back and forth between daylight saving time and standard time, you may have these issues. Circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates sleep and numerous other biological activities, can be thrown off by such a change.

In a nutshell, daylight saving time should not be taken for granted. Making a strategy to deal with the time shift will help you sleep better and feel better in general.

Preparing for the Start of Daylight Saving Time

It is easier to prepare for daylight saving time because it occurs every year at the same time, thus it is less likely to affect your health.

Taking a few simple precautions can help you get a better night’s sleep on the weekend of the time change, as well as improve your long-term sleep habits.

Gradually Adjust Your Schedule

In the week leading up to March’s “spring forward” time change, you can gradually modify your calendar to prepare for the change. Adjusting your bedtime by 15-20 minutes each day is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Other daily activities, such as eating and exercising, can likewise be moved forward in time slowly over time. Making these adjustments gradually over the week leading up to the time change allows your body to get used to the new time before the official start of daylight saving time arrives.

Sleep Well Beforehand

Getting a good night’s sleep the night before daylight saving time is an essential part of preparing for the change. If you’re already sleep deprived when the clocks go back an hour, you’re more likely to feel the impacts of the time change.

Additionally, getting an extra hour of sleep the night before the change can help you prepare for the time change. Banked sleep has been shown to minimize cognitive deterioration and retain motor abilities during periods of reduced sleep.

Making it simpler to stay awake during the day and prevent falling asleep unintentionally may also be a result of having a large amount of additional sleep stored away.

Consider Relaxation Techniques

At any time of the year, simple deep breathing and mindfulness meditation techniques can help you relax your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.

You can use these tactics in the week leading up to daylight saving time to gradually shift your bedtime earlier. If you wake up in the middle of the night, try some relaxation techniques.

Set Your Clocks Before Bed

Before you go to sleep, make sure your clocks and watches are set to the correct time for the time change. This helps you get started quickly and avoid any last-minute snafus.

Overnight, most cell phones and other electronic gadgets automatically change to daylight saving time in order to save battery life. Make sure to change the time on your devices before you go to sleep if they aren’t programmed to do so automatically.

Prioritize Daylight Exposure

To help your circadian rhythm adjust to the new daylight saving time schedule, make sure to get some sunlight exposure on the days following the switch.

The circadian rhythm of our bodies is most strongly influenced by exposure to natural light. Even on a foggy day, natural light delivers more illumination that aligns the circadian rhythm than artificial lighting does.

On the Sunday following the time change, plan to spend time outside and get some sun exposure to help you sleep better after the change to daylight saving time. Open your curtains and sit near a window if you live in a place where going outside is difficult because of the weather.

Take Precautions in Case of Sleep Disruption

With a little planning, you can lessen the impact of daylight saving time on your sleep patterns. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to try to prevent any disruptions to your sleep by taking some preventative precautions.

Governments Worldwide Consider Ditching Daylight Saving Time News and  Research - Scientific American

If you’re prone to afternoon sleepiness after the time change, don’t put too much pressure on yourself the Sunday or Monday following. Plan critical meetings and events for later in the week so that you have more time to adjust. Because of the dangers of driving when tired, it is advised to avoid long drives immediately following the time change.

Upgrade Your Sleep Hygiene

You can get a good night’s sleep if you have healthy habits and a sleep-friendly bedroom environment. Improvements to your sleep hygiene can pay off not only during daylight saving time, but throughout the year as well.

In order to maintain good sleep hygiene there are numerous factors to take into account, some of which are as follows:

  • Consistently sleeping at the same time every day, weekdays and weekends
  • Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine
  • In the afternoons and evenings, limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • At least 30 minutes before going to sleep, put your phone away.
  • Using earplugs and a sleep mask to block out noise and light from your room can help you sleep better.
  • Investing in a well-supported mattress and cozy bed linens

Eat a Healthy Diet

Proper nutrition and sleep are intertwined in the quest for good health. Balanced meals rich in fruits and vegetables have been linked to a better night’s sleep, despite the fact that no single diet has been demonstrated to be the best for sleep.

Other methods for avoiding sleep disturbances caused by eating include:

  • Try to eat your last meal at least a few hours before bed.
  • During the evening, limit your intake of heavy and spicy foods.
  • Be aware of the caffeine content in beverages, such as sodas.

Take a Short Nap if Necessary

In the days after daylight saving time, a short nap may be good if you are experiencing substantial daytime tiredness. If you nap for less than 30 minutes, you’ll be more alert and less groggy when you wake up.

The optimal time to take a nap is in the early afternoon, when most people’s alertness begins to wane. Avoid late-afternoon or late-evening naps because they can make it more difficult to get to sleep at night and worsen your sleep schedule misalignment.

Preparing for the End of Daylight Saving Time

On the first Sunday in November, at 2 a.m., the clocks “fall back” an hour because of the conclusion of Daylight Savings Time. Sleep interruptions related with DST’s termination in October are lower than those associated with the commencement of DST in March. After DST ends on October 31, some people may have difficulty getting back into their normal sleep schedule for a week or more following the change in time.

Getting an extra hour of sleep has a positive impact on many people’s energy levels and general well-being. However, chronic sleep deprivation cannot be erased in a single night for individuals who are sleep-deprived on a regular basis. It’s possible that the end of Daylight Savings Time will provide an opportunity to better your sleep patterns and ensure that you receive enough sleep each night. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that people who are sleep deprived take advantage of the end of Daylight Savings Time by:

  • At their normal bedtime on Saturday night to avoid a sudden shift in time zones on Sunday.
  • Putting off the task of resetting their watches until after they go to bed.
  • Setting their alarm clock for Sunday morning at their usual time.

5 Tips for Making the DST Transition Easier on Your Body

For now, DST is here to stay, but there are ways to mitigate its harmful impacts.

1. Go in With a Good Base of Sleep

According to Awad, the less of a shift your body has to make when the clocks change, the better off you’ll be when the time shift occurs. Make sure you’re receiving enough sleep on a regular basis. If you sleep eight hours a night, missing an hour of sleep won’t be as bad as missing an hour if you sleep six hours a night on a regular basis.

If you’re not on the healthiest sleep schedule currently, use the time change as a reminder to reevaluate how much sleep you’re getting and work on solidifying good sleep habits. “Treat sleep with the same seriousness as other habits, like cleaning your teeth or going to the gym,” Awad advises. To paraphrase the speaker, “it’s critical.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) advises that in order to have a good night’s sleep, people should strive to stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time, sleep only in their beds, avoid coffee after 3 p.m., and turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

2. Shift Your Sleep Gradually Starting the Week Before DST

DST is almost around the corner, and you should begin shifting your bedtime by 15 minutes and your waking time by 15 minutes as soon as possible. To avoid the jarring effect of a one-hour time shift, Awad recommends gradually adjusting your body.

Get to bed at 10:45 the Monday before Daylight Savings Time begins instead of 11 p.m. if that’s when you usually go to bed, for example. The following night, set your alarm for 10:30 p.m. and don’t stop until you’ve worked for an hour.

3. Push Back Your Dinner Gradually

Awad argues that food is “another significant determinant of our circadian rhythm.” When you eat too close to bedtime, your body is too busy digesting to worry about calming down for the night. This makes it difficult to go asleep.

Awad advises people to stop eating three to four hours before going to bed as a general rule of thumb. Before DST goes into effect, begin changing your final meal (often dinner) to an earlier time to avoid disrupting your daily routine. As Awad recommends, you should shift every 15 minutes until you reach an hour.

4. Switch All Your Clocks the Night Before DST Starts

Be sure to advance all of your clocks the night before Daylight Savings Time begins. According to Whitney Hardy, MD, a family medicine physician at Ochsner Health Center in Lapalco, Louisiana, doing so may make the time shift feel less disorienting. Then, when you wake up the next morning, you’ll be ready to adapt to the new time.

5. Start Your Day With Sunlight

You can use natural sunlight to get your body clock as close to the sun clock as possible even if there is some delay in your circadian rhythm following Daylight Savings Time (DST). Awad stresses the importance of waking up early in the morning.

First thing in the morning, make an effort to receive at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight. If you reside in a more temperate region, you may be able to get your daily dose of sunlight by going outside. Awad, on the other hand, claims that simply drinking your morning coffee near to a window will enough. Avoid using electronic gadgets such as cell phones, laptops, and other devices that emit blue light close to bedtime.

Good habits for good sleep

You don’t have to be a kid to have a bedtime routine! Developing appropriate sleep hygiene habits is just as important for adults as it is for children.

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Taking a few minutes to wind down will help you get a good night’s sleep. Avoid strenuous exercise within a few hours of going to bed because it can raise your body’s core temperature and hence interfere with your sleep.

Put your cell phone, computer, or tablet away. Pick up a non-suspenseful book and turn off the tv. (High-intensity light from electronics stimulates the brain and prevents melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness, from working properly.)

Getting the same amount of sleep every night, even on the weekends, is beneficial. Even though “sleeping in on weekends may sound like a nice idea,” Dr. Walia cautions, “it can alter your sleep pattern.”

Finally, keep the bed for sleeping only. According to her, “your mind adjusts to the practice of getting into bed for sleep,”

FAQs

What does daylight saving time do to your body?

Changing the time of day can “skew or put off center the normal systems that trigger structures within our mind, within our brain that tell us through hormone cues and brain chemistry when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep,” according to Dr. Kathy Sexton-Radek, a consultant for the AASM Public Safety Committee and professor of psychology at Elmhurst College.

Because of the constant shifts in space and time, she explained to NBC 5 Chicago, “people become disoriented and off-balance.”

According to Sexton-Radek, mood swings, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating are all possible side effects of such shifts.

As the head of NASA Ames Research Center’s Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory, Erin Flynn-Evans, who has a doctorate in health and medical science and is an expert in fatigue, explained in a statement: “Light is the most potent time cue for our human body clock.” As a result of the misalignment between the body’s daily rhythm and normal societal duties such as work or school, switching to permanent daylight saving time in the winter would be unavoidable. As a result, many people may have difficulty falling asleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and even sleep deprivation, all of which can have serious consequences for one’s health and safety.

What are signs your body is not properly adjusting?

Mood swings, exhaustion, and an inability to concentrate are just a few of the warning signs cited by Sexton-Radek.

It’s possible that a person’s frustration or irritability at something that wasn’t obvious can bring them to the realization that they weren’t entirely able to concentrate, the exhaustion or possibly a sleepiness was robbing some of their attention and concentration abilities,” she added.

What are the benefits of daylight saving time?

Days of Light Saving Time have several advantages as stated by D.O.T. The Department of Transportation’s website features the following:

  • It saves you money in the long run. Because the sun sets one hour later at night during Daylight Saving Time, less electricity is needed to power household lights and appliances. During Daylight Saving Time, people tend to spend more time outside in the evenings, which reduces the amount of electricity they need to use at home. In addition, due to the early morning sunrise during the summer, most people will awaken after the sun has already risen, resulting in fewer lights being turned on in their residence.
  • It saves lives and prevents road accidents. More individuals use daylight to get to and from school, work, and other errands during Daylight Saving Time.
  • It has the effect of reducing criminal activity. Most people are out and about during the day rather than at night, when more crime happens, during Daylight Saving Time.

What can you do to make the shift easier on your body?

The American Academy of Sports Medicine (AASM) suggests the following strategies for coping with the time change:

  • After the time change, adults should aim for seven hours of sleep each night, while youth should aim for eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Sleep and waking periods should be adjusted over time, gradually. Adjust your bedtime 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night for a few nights before the time change to get your body used to the new schedule.
  • Before the time change, make necessary adjustments to your daily routine, such as when you eat and what you eat.
  • Take advantage of the one-hour time change and go to bed at your usual time on Saturday night, March 13.
  • On a Sunday morning, get some fresh air and sunshine. Your circadian rhythm, which controls when you go to sleep and wake up, will be better synchronized with the strong light.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep on Sunday so that you’re ready for the week ahead.

Additionally, Sexton-Radek recommends adopting relaxation techniques to guarantee that you go to bed at the proper hour.

She recommends adopting relaxing applications or music, light physical activity such as yoga or stretches, or making checklists to take responsibilities off of your mind.

In her words, “creating an individualized strategy that’s beneficial” is more difficult than it sounds.

Not only may this be useful for individuals preparing for Daylight Savings Time, but it can also benefit others who are having difficulty adjusting, according to Sexton-Radek.

“This can leave some individuals feeling a little, a smidge, a little stumped. They’re a little off, but “she informed me. For them to take care of themselves, some rest, some strong light outside that’s alerting but not harsh are all clear signs.

When is daylight saving time?

From early-to-mid March through early-to-mid November, daylight saving time is observed in the United States, lasting a total of 34 weeks.

On March 13, 2022, more than a week before the start of spring, daylight saving time will be implemented. There will be no daylight saving time after Sunday, November 6th.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that daylight saving time begin on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November, a change from previous years.

As a result of this change, clocks went forward by one hour on the first Sunday in April and stayed that way until the last Sunday in October.

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