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How Daylight Saving Time Can Affect Your Sleep

By Expert Sleep Medicine on March 7, 2019 in Sleep
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daylight saving time change and sleep

In March we’ll be “springing forward” an hour on account of the daylight saving time change. The change officially happens at 2 am on Sunday, but many will set their clocks ahead an hour this coming Saturday before heading to bed. Changing your clocks is not the only thing you can do to prepare for the time change.

We “only” lose an hour, is preparation needed?

In short, yes. The main issue caused by daylight saving time change is sleep deprivation, especially when we lose an hour in the spring. This means more people are tired on Monday morning when driving to work.

After studying workplace productivity and the circadian rhythm, researchers uncovered that workers sleep an average of 40 minutes less the night after the change. Studies have also found that on the day and week after daylight saving time there are more traffic accidents and poor performance due to not getting enough sleep with the change. Some studies have even found that there is an increase in the risk of a heart attack for several days after the change.

Tips to Prepare for the Change:

  1. Start going to bed early a few days before, or even just the night of the time change to help your body adjust to the time change.
  2. Reevaluate your sleep environment, ensure the room is dark, cool, and free of sound. Turn off the TV or laptop and put down the cellphone to prevent disruptions while you sleep.
  3. Keep up your routine! In preparation, if you’ve already started going to sleep in a good sleep environment at a scheduled time then stick to it! We recommend adults get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
  4. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends taking a nap on Sunday afternoon (not near bedtime) to help prevent sleepiness on Monday.

Daylight saving time might seem like an outdated annoyance twice a year, but we can all use this time to reset our sleep routine. If you are struggling to get to sleep or wake up tired, it might be time to see a sleep specialist.