Love it or hate it, Daylight Savings Time is a fact of life. The tradition of setting the clock forward an hour each spring and backward an hour each fall first began as an energy conservation measure in WW1. Whether it’s still useful is debatable, but one thing is certain – daylight savings time wreaks havoc on sleep schedules.
The problem is not so pronounced in the fall. When the clocks roll back in the middle of the night we all gain an hour of sleep the next morning. But the opposite is true in the spring when we all lose an hour of sleep. It might not sound like a lot, but it has a bigger impact than people realize.
Any disruption to your sleep routine can leave you tired for a day, a week, or more. When you have to wake up an hour earlier than normal and it’s still dark outside, it’s that much harder to get out of bed. Considering that many Americans get less than seven hours sleep at night, subtracting an hour is also a lot to lose.
If you find yourself feeling groggy the day (or longer) after the clocks change, you’re not the only one. Researchers have discovered that the number of fatal accidents increases by a significant percentage the Monday after we lose an hour of sleep. There’s a similar increase in workplace accidents and heart attacks. Daylight Savings Time is not entirely responsible for these outcomes, but it’s undeniable that sleep deprivation leads to decreased mental and physical performance.
The time change may be unavoidable, but bad sleep doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation, you can sleep soundly and wake up feeling rested even if the hour is off. We recommend these tips:
Go to Sleep Earlier
The simplest way to make up for the hour of sleep you lose is to fall asleep an hour earlier. Unfortunately, getting your body to relax and making your mind power down sooner than you’re used to is hard to do on command. Make sure you avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages that evening, and try to avoid electronics at least an hour before you plan to sleep. It can even help to set your bedroom clocks forward preemptively to put yourself in the right mindset for sleep. If possible, start going to sleep 15 minutes earlier on each of the four days leading up to Daylight Savings Time.
Prep During the Day
What you do during the day affects how you sleep at night. The day before the time shift, try to get at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise. You should also avoid taking naps, eat as healthy as possible, and drink plenty of water. If there’s anything else you know helps you sleep – a cup of tea at night, listening to an audiobook before bed, taking a hot bath, etc – try to take some time to indulge. You can’t always plan your day around how you want to sleep at night, but Daylight Savings Time is a definite exception.
Start the Day Fresh
No matter how you feel the morning after the clocks spring forward, try to get out of bed as early as possible. The sun will be out earlier than normal, and exposing yourself to natural light can help you feel awake and alert faster. Taking a short walk would be ideal. Even if you can’t guarantee you sleep well at night, you can prevent yourself from feeling fatigued and unfocused when you wake up.
Stick to Your Routine
In the nights after Daylight Savings Time, stick to your normal sleep schedule. You may be tempted to go to sleep sooner or later before your body’s internal clock adjusts to the time change. No matter how you feel, though, try to wind down when you normally would. You will get over the hump of Daylight Savings Time much faster this way.
Evaluate Your Sleep Twice Each Year
Take some time each fall or spring to evaluate how well you’ve been sleeping. The quality of your sleep is directly linked to how good you feel, but not enough people critique their sleep. Avoid that trap by taking some time around every Daylight Savings Time to look honestly at your sleep health.
Have you been sleeping enough at night? Do you wake up feeling rested and refreshed? Do you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night? Is your current bedroom and mattress ideal for how you like to sleep? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to address the issue sooner rather than later.
There could be many things compromising your sleep, but the most common culprit is your mattress. If it’s old, outdated, worn down, defective, uncomfortable, or simply wrong for you, it’s hurting every minute of your sleep. You might lie awake at night, toss and turn, wake up feeling foggy, or have persistent aches and pains. All of these are consequences of a bad mattress. Luckily, the solution is simple.
Visit one of the 38 Sit ‘n Sleep superstores conveniently located throughout Southern California. We have a vast and varied mattress inventory for you to experience in person. Spend as much time as you would like finding the perfect mattress for you with the help of our in-store sleep experts. Make Daylight Savings Time an opportunity to sleep better than ever. Explore our website for more info, plan a trip to explore mattress options, and call us at 800-908-0354 if you have any questions.