7 Little Things That Can Ruin Your Chance Of A Good Night’s Sleep During Daylight Saving Time March 2019
After a few long months of cold temperatures, snowy days, and 5PM sunsets, spring is finally in the foreseeable future. It's March, which means that in a few weeks, we'll be noticing little flowers peaking out of the ground and maybe even some cherry blossoms on the trees. The sun will set later and we'll all enjoy some much needed daylight instead of what feels like never-ending darkness. But, unfortunately, this comes with some negatives as well: namely Daylight Saving Time. Sure, it means extra sunlight, but springing forward also means we lose an hour on Mar. 8, which means we'll be extra sleepy in the days following. But it doesn't have to be as bad as it seems - you can make things better. There are just some little things that can ruin your chances of a good night's sleep during Daylight Saving Time that need to be avoided.
Daylight Saving Time is comparable to jet lag: it throws off your body's internal clock, and that affects how much melatonin is being released into your system. Melatonin is the hormone your body produces that helps determine when you're ready to start feeling sleepy. When something messes with your melatonin production, you can be left feeling extra groggy. On top of that, springing forward means that there is less sunlight in the morning and more at night - and that change can throw you off as well.
Here are a few things that are ruining your chances of actually getting some sleep during this time:
1. Not Preparing Properly
One of the best things you can do to make sure DST barely affects you is to prepare in advance. You can do this a few days before the time change by going to bed or waking up a few minutes earlier each night. According to Alaska Sleep Center, "The goal here is to make the eventual change less drastic by getting your body ready for the change by incrementally getting yourself to the new time. While you may be losing a few minutes each day, by the time Sunday rolls around, it shouldn't feel like you've lost almost any."
2. Sleeping Too Late
When you spring forward, you suddenly get thrown into a day where it's darker than usual when you wake up and lighter than usual before bed. Those dark mornings make it really easy to turn your alarm clock off and sleep in, because the lack of light is telling your body's internal clock that it's not time to wake up yet. But sleeping late isn't going to make up for that extra hour you lost - it's just going to make it harder for you to fall asleep at the right time that night, leading to you being more tired the next day, which means you'll again want to sleep in. It's a vicious cycle!
3. Not Going To Bed Early Enough
Similarly, you need to get to bed at the right time in order to get enough sleep. But when you lose an hour, your body's internal clock notices that it was lighter out later. That messes with your melatonin, which tells you when to go to bed depending on light. You might feel like you need to stay up later, but force yourself to get to bed early. It will help you feel more rested.
4. Staring At Your Phone Before You Fall Asleep
Chances are good that when you're not able to fall asleep early, you'll be laying in bed staring at your phone or watching TV. But all that blue light from your tech devices is going to make things worse for you - it makes you feel more awake and disrupts your sleep. According to Global News, it's best to eliminate these distractions at least an hour before bed.
5. Giving In And Taking A Long Nap
If Daylight Saving Time has left you completely exhausted, you may feel really tempted to just give into it and taking a nice long nap in the middle of the day. But while a brief nap (like, 20 minutes tops) might help you out, a longer one is going to make you feel more groggy and will make it harder for you to fall asleep that night.
6. Drinking Too Much The Night Before
The clocks go forward one hour in the very early morning of a Sunday. This means that you may go out the night before and drink with some friends. There's nothing wrong with that, but alcohol can definitely affect your sleep in a negative way, especially when you're already feeling sleep-deprived. Try to limit your alcohol intake around Daylight Saving Time to be on the safe side.
7. Changing Your Sleep Schedule
If Daylight Saving Time causes you to go to sleep later and/or wake up later, the means you're changing your normal sleep schedule - and that's going to make you feel more tired. Stuart Fogel, who is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, where he works in the Sleep Research Lab, says, "Our brains, they really crave regularity. And when there is a change like Daylight Saving Time, the best thing you can do is go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. And your brain will thank you for it and you’ll sleep better as a result." Try to stick to the bedtime and wakeup time you had before Mar. 8.