Daylight saving time changes are basically my bi-annual trips onto the struggle bus of not knowing what time it is, not getting enough sleep, and not being able to show up anywhere on time for like, weeks. And now, we're about to experience the kind of daylight saving time where we lose an entire precious hour of sleep come 2 a.m. on Mar. 10. Of course, the wrongs are righted to some degree given that we get an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but still: Daylight saving time 2019 is bound to be a rough transition for many of us. Given the near-guaranteed lack of sleep, taking naps during daylight saving time is definitely tempting — but is it actually helpful in the long run? Thankfully, many experts agree that they can be, so long as we follow some basic rules.
Fun fact: The Monday after daylight saving time is legitimately known as National Nap Day. No surprise there! I mean, after being straight up robbed of a whole hour of sleep the weekend prior, who isn't thinking about coming home to crash on the couch after work that Monday? According to the National Sleep Foundation, most people sleep an average of 40 minutes less on the night that daylight saving time goes down. To combat this, it suggests allowing yourself to sleep in on Sunday morning if possible, and then napping in the afternoon (although not too late, as it will make it harder to fall asleep later in the evening).
In addition to napping earlier in the day as opposed to later, experts usually advise keeping your daylight saving time naps on the shorter side, too. "A short 20-minute nap during the day can ... prepare you for a good night," wrote The Better Sleep Council. "Short naps like these can help your body adjust to the time change and help you feel ready for sleep at your normal bedtime."
"Your total daily sleep time should be about 8 hours," said Dr. Chris Rose, a sleep expert with Covenant Health, in an interview with Fox 34. And according to Dr. Rose, if you're in sleep debt because of daylight saving time and have some catching up to do, a nap can certainly be a healthy contributor to reaching that 8 hour total — but again, it may take some conscious planning if you want to do it right. "The best time for a nap is just after your midday meal," explained Dr. Rose. "Too late in the day can disrupt nighttime sleep." He also noted that the room should be "dark, cool, and quiet," and suggested setting a timer to make sure you don't oversleep (which could also affect your ability to fall asleep at a reasonable time later on).
Shelly Ibach, president and CEO of Sleep Number, echoed this sentiment in an interview with Thrive Global: "If you can find the time, even if it's as brief as 10 minutes, recoup the sleep you've lost with a catnap," she suggested — although she also warned against napping any time after the early afternoon.
And while not all sleep experts are quick to recommend a nap during daylight saving time, it's mostly agreed that if you really feel you need one, it's worth it to do so while being conscious of factors like the length of the nap and the time of day one is taken. "I think naps are more detrimental personally, but if you're so exhausted you can't keep your eyes open, take [one]," said family medicine physician Dr. Shilpi Agarwal in an interview with NBC News. She suggested limiting your daytime snooze to no more than 20 minutes. "A long nap risks getting you into deep sleep which can throw off your sleep cycle."
I'm personally in full support of the nap — daylight saving time or not. And if you follow the experts' advice when it comes napping earlier in the day, keeping the snooze relatively short, and listening to your body, you should be able to use the beloved nap to your advantage and sail through the DST adjustment with ease. Happy napping!