Sleep: Are You Worried About Daylight Savings Time?

Are you worried about daylight savings time?  

As a sleep physician and a person who cares immensely about her sleep time and quality, my best piece of advice as we prepare for daylight savings time is to focus on proper mindset. It takes time to adjust (up to a week!) to a shift in the clock and you won’t feel your best for at least the first few days. You may be more tired, less motivated, and have a worse mood. This is all normal, and it, too, shall pass. Be compassionate with yourself and know that on the other side of this is more daylight and the fresh start of Spring. Plan how you will cope when your motivation gets low and focus on the things you CAN do to decrease the impact that the sleep loss and change in sleep schedule has on you. 

Simple Tips for making Daylight Savings easier on yourself:  

  • Adjust your schedule gradually. This means going to bed about 15 minutes earlier starting a few days before the time change (NOW!), and waking up about 15 minutes earlier as well. Every couple days, further advance your schedule by 15 minutes until you have reached your new schedule. 
  • Use light to help set your body clock to the new schedule. This means expose yourself to sunlight (or any bright light will do) first thing in the morning and decrease your light exposure in the evenings. Most importantly, stop using screens for at least an hour before your new, earlier bedtime. The darkness will trigger the release of natural melatonin and help you to fall asleep earlier. I recommend wearing blue-blocking glasses starting after dinner for at least the first week after the time change. 
  • Adjust ALL of your clocks at bedtime Saturday night. This allows you to start living on your new schedule without being reminded of how things “were” (oh, the loss of that hour!).  Also be sure to adjust your mealtimes and other daily events that occur at specified times to the new time setting. All of these activities are cues that provide input to our body clocks, so synchronizing them to your new schedule will help make the transition less painful.   

People’s susceptibility to the negative effects of the time change will vary, so be patient with yourself and others as we spring forward. Avoid driving in the early morning if you don’t feel fully awake and put off big decisions until you feel more rested. Lastly, don’t get discouraged if you or your family members or colleagues get fewer things done in the upcoming week. Control what you can and help to support each other as we welcome the many good things that this time of year brings.  


Waiting on a Machine or Just Getting Started With A CPAP? 

Due to the recent recall and general delays in healthcare services, many people are forced to wait to get their CPAP machines. There are things you can do to prepare, so download the first of its kind guide with actionable tips you can start on today.


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