Fior D. Rojas, MD
Springing forward for daylight-saving time can wreak unexpected havoc on our lives as we attempt to adjust. Losing an hour can lead to sleep deprivation, and that can even affect our hormone levels, meaning temporary changes in appetite, an increase in our cravings, as well as accidental overeating, are possible.
Although U.S. adults need 7 or more hours of sleep a night in order to maintain their best health and wellbeing, more than a third of us — 35.3% of U.S. adults — don’t get the proper amount of shut-eye. Instead, many of us sleep less than 7 hours in a 24-hour period, according to the American Sleep Association.
If we’re mindful ahead of time about what can happen when we spring forward, it’s possible for us to avoid potential problems before they even begin. In addition to adjusting your analog clocks and the timekeepers on your appliances, these four recommendations can help fortify you before and after daylight saving time.
Get at Least 7 Hours of Sleep, No Matter What
One solid reason why this time change is so difficult for us is largely due to the fact many of us often “lose” an hour out of our regular sleep schedules. It is possible to change your mindset about that, however. You can skip past this idea by promising yourself you’ll sleep a solid 7-8 hours, time change or no. Treat it as a gift you give yourself (and a great one at that).
Eat and Drink Earlier for Better Rest
Finish your meals two and even three hours before you retire to help ensure fewer interruptions throughout the night. That means planning any celebrations or dinners with friends at earlier times this weekend. Because digesting can (and often will) wake up the body, it’s a good rule of thumb to steer clear of caffeine as well, saving your coffee and caffeinated beverages for the morning and finishing any alcoholic beverages by early evening.
More Walking Means Better Dreaming
The more active you are during your day, the sleepier you will be later. Establishing an exercise routine that ends at least 2-3 hours before bedtime or even incorporating a short walk during your day can help when it’s needed most later on.
Try a Little Nap Time
Babies shouldn’t have the market cornered on naps. Even for adults, taking a 20-minute nap during the day can actually help you feel better. A short nap can help your body adjust to the time change and helps you feel ready to snooze at your normal bedtime.