SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Experts say you should begin preparing now to to limit the disruption that daylight saving time has on your sleep cycle.
When we spring forward on March 13, the lost hour of sleep can disrupt the body’s natural internal rhythms, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The sleepiness and grogginess from that lost sleep can increase car crashes and can even increase cardiovascular events.
Dr. Antoinette Rutherford, a sleep medicine physician with Prisma Health, said early preparation can help blunt the ill effects of the time change.
“Sleep deprivation can be more serious than just needing a second cup of coffee,” said Dr. Rutherford. “You’re going to lose an hour of sleep, and you’re going to be getting up an hour earlier as far as your body’s internal clock is concerned. But taking some easy steps ahead of time can help you better manage the change.”
Leading up to the time change, Dr. Rutherford had these seven tips you can use to improve your sleep and minimize the impacts:
- Establish healthy sleep prior to the date of the change.
Make small adjustments in your bedtime for several days beforehand to minimize the impact of the switch. Go to sleep 15 minutes early for a couple of days, then 30 minutes early for a couple of days. The AASM advises that adults obtain at least seven hours of sleep per night before and after daylight saving time changes.
- Get some vitamin D.
Your internal clock is set by light and dark patterns, not by what it reads on your watch. With remote work it can be difficult to get outside the house during the daylight hours. Try to work from an area in your house that receives natural sunlight. You could also try to go outside during your lunch or any breaks.
- Avoid naps.
Daytime naps, even if you are feeling sluggish, can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
- Limit your screen time before bed.
Working on your computer, watching your TV and scrolling through your phone stimulates your brain, making it harder for you to fall asleep. Try turning off the electronics 30 minutes before bed. Instead of scrolling on your phone or watching tv, transition your brain to a calm relaxed mindset by reading or listening to music.
- Get active.
Regular exercise improves your overall sleep quality. If possible, complete your workout at least two hours before your bedtime to allow your body to fully decompress.
- Separate your sleeping space and your working space.
Having different areas where you work in one and relax in the other helps you to associate one space with an action. Try to avoid working from your bed and make your bed a place where you can relax and sleep.
- Maintain your sleep schedule.
Working remotely changed many people’s sleep schedules because they no longer had to dedicate time in the mornings to getting ready and commuting to work. It is important to establish a time that you will wake up at every morning – even if you can snooze until the last minute. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will not only help you better adjust to time change but will also improve your overall sleep quality.