This weekend it is time to Spring Forward as the time will change ahead one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. This will mean a loss of an hours sleep for those who don’t take the right steps in preparing for the time change.
Tip #1: Start preparing a few days early. About a week before “springing forward,” Dr. Walia recommends that you start going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Your body needs that bit of extra time to make up for the lost hour.
Tip #2: Stick to your schedule. Be consistent with eating, social, bed and exercise times during the transition to Daylight Saving Time. Exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning will also help you adjust, Dr. Walia says.
Tip #3: Don’t take long naps. Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. But avoiding naps is key for adjusting to the time change, as long daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep. “If you have to take them, take them early and for no longer than 20 minutes,” Dr. Walia says.
Tip #4: Avoid coffee and alcohol. Put down coffee and caffeinated beverages four to six hours before bedtime. Alcohol also prohibits you from getting quality sleep, so avoid it late at night.
While some of these tips seem like good advice on any day to get a better nights sleep they will be especially important this weekend if you don’t want to suffer the negative effects of Daylight Saving Time.
If you are unfamiliar; the effects of switching to DST can include an increased risk of heart attacks for the following three weeks, according to a Swedish study. There is also a recorded increase in traffic accidents in the days and week following DST, according to multiple studies, including one from last month. It has also been well documented, for over a decade, that the days following DST can see an increase in workplace accidents.
Until the political will can be mustered to remove this change in our schedules, it is advisable to do what you can to mitigate it’s impact. That being said, get some good rest and be careful on Monday.