Spring Forward Easily! How to Adjust to the Time Change
On Sunday, March 12, Michiganders will join most of the country in turning their clocks ahead one hour. While you’ll likely be asleep at the moment it happens—at 2:00 a.m. time jumps ahead to 3:00 a.m.—you’ll feel the impact the next day (and potentially for days after that). That’s because when you “spring forward” for Daylight Saving time, you need to go to bed Sunday night an hour before your body thinks it should (and wake up an hour before your body wants to on Monday morning). As a result, you may experience decreased performance and concentration as well as fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
Here are a few steps you can take to make the coming time change less impactful.
- Let your body slowly adjust.
A few days before springing forward, try going to bed and waking up 10 to 15 minutes earlier. This slowly eases your body into the new sleep schedule, so when Daylight Saving hits, it’s not such a big deal.
- Avoid a daytime nap on Saturday or Sunday.
Naps can make it harder for you to get to sleep at night, and you’re going to need to go to bed earlier than you normally do this weekend. If you’re feeling tired during the day, take a walk outside or work out to wake yourself up.
- Adjust the lights.
Your body gets cues from light levels when deciding to feel awake or sleepy. Use this to your advantage this weekend. In the morning, turn the lights on right away to quickly wake yourself up. At night, dim overhead lights to signal to your body that it’s time to go to bed.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
Alcoholic beverages and drinks that are high in caffeine, like coffee and soda, can interfere with your sleep schedule—especially when you have them right before you go to bed. To help make your adjustment smoother, limit your intake of these substances in the days leading up to Daylight Savings.
- Wind down one hour before bed.
Having a relaxing bedtime routine can reduce anxiety and ready your body for sleep. Try activities like taking a bath, turning off your cell phone or reading. On Sunday, start the routine an hour before your old bedtime (it’ll feel like you’re doing it an hour earlier). This will help you feel sleepy just as you need to be going to bed.
How are you going to adjust yourself to the time change? Tell us in the comments below!
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Photo credit: Heidi