Tips to Avoid Sleep Debt Due to Daylight Savings Time

On Sunday, March 13th we lost an hour of sleep. We spring forward an hour between March to November to conserve natural day light. Humans’ biological functions are driven by circadian rhythm, which is 24-hour cycles that regulate sleep. The circadian rhythm also regulates other key bodily functions such as appetite and mood. These rhythms are largely dependent on light exposure.

The spring forward transition gives us darker mornings and brighter evenings. This delays our sleep-wake cycle, making us feel tired in the morning and alert in the evening. We go into a sleep debt for the month of March. Research found that the average person receives 40 minutes less sleep (1). on the Monday after “Springing Forward.” You would think we make up for the sleep loss, but we don’t. There are some other negative effects of this time change like mood disturbance, heart attacks (2), and traffic accidents (3).

To minimize the effects of time change, you can make some gradual adjustments. Here are a few steps to avoid the negative effects of time change.

Bedtime Routine-

Start a consistent bedtime. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day — including the weekends. This helps your body regulate its sleep. Make sure you get seven to nine hours of sleep the week of and the week after daylight saving time transition.

Go to Bed Early-

Start changing your bedtime a week before springing forward. Start going to bed 10 minutes early each night.

Take Naps-

If you feel sleepy after the take short 20-minute naps during the day. Remember to nap early in the day. Naps close to bedtime interfere with sleep.

Don’t Sleep-in-

Don’t sleep in the morning after the time change. Wake-up at your consistent bedtime. It will help ensure you go to bed at the right time.

Go Outdoors-

Spend time outdoors the week after springing forward. Sunlight drives our circadian rhythms. Exposure to sunlight can lessen feelings of tiredness after time change.

Try these tips to make the day light saving time transition easier. Do you have any other tips to share? Share them in comments below.

References

https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015320

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc0807104

DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199604043341416

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About the Author

Aesha Tahir is a health and wellness coach and a certified personal trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science and is certified by the NASM as a Personal trainer. She is a certified USA Track and Field Running Coach and Road Runners of America Coach. She is a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. She is also a group exercise instructor specializing in barre, spinning, strength training, boot camp, and yoga classes. She has over five years of experience in the fitness and wellness arena with focused expertise in coaching, corrective exercise and injury prevention, individualized fitness programs, and group fitness programs. She is also an aspiring public speaker in the fitness and wellness world who believes in this quote; “To be inspired is great, but to inspire is incredible.”

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Aesha Tahir

Aesha Tahir

Coach, writer & runner. Exercise science, group fitness and positive psychology for every athlete. Book a Call with Me:toneandstrengthen.com