Remembering to change the time at the beginning of daylight saving time can just seem like a nuisance, but losing that hour of sleep can present real problems for many people.
More than 61 percent of Americans report feeling the negative effects of daylight saving time the Monday after resetting their clocks, according to the Better Sleep Council. Another 4 percent of Americans admit to getting into a traffic accident due to lack of sleep the Monday following the time change. Studies also report an increase in workplace injuries and a decrease in productivity immediately following the time change.
“In a country where most are already sleep deprived, an hour of lost sleep can really take its toll,” said Sandhya Kumar, MD assistant professor of neurology and medical director of the Sleep Center at Wake Forest Baptist Health.
“That lost hour of sleep can affect more than you think and it’s important to give yourself a head start in adjusting to the time change. Night owls have a harder time adjusting to this time change as opposed to early birds. Teenagers are affected the most by this change as their internal biological clock physiologically causes them to go to bed late and wake up late. The average teen is chronically sleep deprived and the spring time change adds another hour of lost sleep to the problem.”
Kumar recommends these tips from the Better Sleep Council on how to prepare for daylight saving time:
- Gradually transition into the time change by going to bed 15 minutes early several days before the time change.
- Strive to get the required 7-8 hours of nightly sleep
- Maintain a cool temperature in the bedroom and make it dark and quiet.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep. Avoid watching television or using any electronic media in your bedroom at night.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine after lunch and alcohol before bed.
- Create a bedtime ritual that is relaxing. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or taking a hot bath or shower.
- Avoid clock-watching. Use your clock’s alarm functions and turn the clock’s face away from the bed so you can’t see it.
“A 23-hour Sunday means a sleepy Monday, especially for those who aren’t morning people,” said Kumar. “Simple changes in lifestyle and a little planning can result in a successful night’s sleep despite the time change.”