The second Sunday in March marks the day when Americans adjust their clocks and “spring forward” an hour to enjoy a little extra daylight in the afternoon and evening.
But if you’re like most folks across the country, losing that extra hour of sleep can make you a bit groggy for a few days after the time adjustment.
It’s understandable that we still want to sleep in for an hour or two, even though our alarm clock tells us otherwise. As a general rule of thumb, it takes one day to adjust to each hour of time change; and this number can vary from individual to individual.
So if you’re one of the many folks who have trouble adjusting to a new wake-up time, consider these tips that can get you back on schedule in no time!
Make It Gradual
In the days leading up to the time change, start going to bed and waking up 10-15 minutes earlier at a time. It is important to help children adjust this way also, especially if they need to wake up for school.
So, for example, if you normally head to bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m., change it to 10:50 and 6:50, then 10:40 and 6:40, and so on. This way, when the alarm clock jumps an extra hour, you will already be used to the adjustment.
Put Down the Screens
The artificial blue light that emits from screens can alter our circadian rhythms, which inherently dictate when we should go to sleep and when we should wake up.
So avoid watching TV, checking your phone, or using the Internet just before bed to give your body and brain the best chance of sticking to a natural sleep schedule.
Don’t Take a Nap!
It can be tempting to sneak in a power nap after losing an hour of sleep, but this can alter your sleep cycle.
Stay awake the day after the time change, and you’ll have a much better chance of going to bed at an earlier hour come nighttime.
Keep Your Schedule
As any world traveler will attest, the key to adjusting to a time change is to adapt as soon as possible to the new schedule.
Keep your wake-up time, mealtimes, and activity schedule consistent with the “new” time, and your body will catch up with your routine.
Have a Nighttime Routine
There are little rituals we can do to signal to our brains and bodies that it’s time to go to bed. So make a routine before bedtime!
Enjoy a hot, cup of herbal caffeine free tea, read a book, or indulge in a warm shower or bath. By having a few habits that are performed nightly, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster.
Make Sure You’re Healthy!
People who have obstructive sleep apnea may suffer even more when it comes to time changes, as their sleeping habits and patterns are already off-balance.
So instead of compounding a sleeping problem, get tested for OSA before the time change arrives! By seeking help, and pursuing treatment, you’ll make yourself better rested regardless of the time.
Think you might have OSA? Don’t hesitate to contact us. You can even ask in the comments below.