While “Spring Forward” sounds like a positive thing because it means the end of winter is near, it also means that we lose an hour of sleep. And unless you’re among the rare few who can function on no sleep, every hour of sleep is precious! You may think that the only symptom of springing forward is being tired and a little grouchy the next day at work, but there can be some serious consequences.
- Researchers from Penn State found that the Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins is notorious for cyberloafing (surfing the internet). Participants in their study spent 8.4 more minutes cyberloafing, or 20% of their tasks assigned time, for every hour of interrupted sleep the night before.
- A study done by the University of Alabama found that our bodies are 10% more likely to have a heart attack the day after we spring forward.
I think we can all agree that we don’t want either of these things to happen! To help us all out, we’ve compiled a list of tips to more easily adjust to springing forward this year, and every year to come.
You’re going to be tired. You’re going to want to nap. But don’t nap! A 1 hour nap may sound nice, but it won’t help you adjust to the time change. A long nap may sound even better, but that will just disrupt your nightly sleep pattern. If you absolutely must nap, take short power naps, which are 20 minutes or less. Make sure to take it earlier in the day so you aren’t messing up your nighttime routine.
Routines are a great way to signal to your body it’s time to wake up or to go to bed. If you haven’t already, start a morning routine that includes opening blinds, turning on lights, eating breakfast, having your morning cup of coffee, or whatever it may be that you would like to do in the morning. Make sure you get your place as bright as can be so your body knows it’s daytime, and make sure not to rely on caffeine to wake you up either. Once you start a routine, just following it helps wake you up. For a nighttime routine, start turning off electronics 30 minutes to an hour before you go to bed. Additionally, make sure you don’t eat 2 hours before bed so you give yourself enough time to digest before sleeping. Last, make sure your room is a perfect place for sleeping. Cool temperature rooms are ideal, as well as dark/as little light as possible, cool or light colors that aren’t distracting, and preferably no electronics.
When waking up early, probably the last thing you want to do would be to exercise, but hear me out! Of course we all know that exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make us happy (thanks Elle Woods!), but that’s just where the benefits start! Exercise has been proven to increase energy levels, reduce stress, and improve sleep! It also has many other obvious benefits like reducing body fit, improving muscle tone and strength, and strengthening and building bones. Your exercise doesn’t have to be a big sweat fest either. You can simply take a 20 minute walk outside. Just being active will allow you to start seeing all of these benefits.
It’s going to take a few days to adjust. Moving your clocks an hour may not seem like a big deal in theory, but come Monday morning, you will definitely be able to tell. Try and help yourself out by setting your clocks forward early. By doing this, you’ll be in the mindset of the earlier time at least a day ahead time. You’ll be able to eat on the new schedule and go to bed on the new schedule, hopefully allowing you to adjust a little easier. After doing all of these things, just give it time. Bodies react differently to just a little change so they will sometimes just need some time to adjust.
We hope these tips will help you have a seamless transition into Daylight Savings Time. What tips or tricks do you follow to try and not feel the effects of losing that hour of sleep? Let us know in the comments!