“Spring forward, fall behind.” For nearly all of the United States and about 70 countries worldwide, Daylight Savings Time occurs twice a year. Depending on the season and the person, you may dread it, love it or barely even notice.
On March 14, 2021, clocks are moving forward an hour for most of us. The sun will rise later in the morning, but you gain more daylight hours with later sunsets in the evening. Whether you appreciate this change or not, it can seem a bit like jet lag as your body and circadian rhythms adjust to the hour of lost sleep.
The following tips can help minimize the impact on your sleep quality and quantity:
- Start preparing today: In this week leading up to the time change, go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than you usually would. This helps your body “make up” the lost hour beforehand. Establish a consistent sleep routine where you get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Take a cat nap: If you find that you are a bit sluggish and experiencing “sleep debt” for a few days after Daylight Savings, take a short 15-20 minute power nap to help you get through the rest of the day. Avoid sleeping longer or mid-day through the late afternoon since this can make it harder for you to fall asleep at bedtime.
- Reevaluate your nightly activities: Avoid fatty food, coffee or alcohol a few hours before bed since they can prevent your body from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Limit screen time an hour or two before you plan on going to sleep – the light can stimulate your brain and make it harder to shut it off when it’s time to rest.
- Get appropriate light exposure: Natural light and sunlight help to reset your body’s internal clock naturally. Use light to your advantage and go outside in the morning, or at the very least open your curtains and windows to help you feel more awake. Enjoy the sun in the evenings as the sun sets later. After dusk, and a few hours before you go to sleep, dim the lights in your house to create a conducive environment for unwinding and rest.
The American Fidelity's EAP Sleep Fitness Toolkit is designed to help you learn good sleep habits and achieve healthy sleep. Simple changes can be the difference between a restful night and one spent tossing and turning.
If you need additional assistance, American Fidelity's EAP’s licensed clinicians are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at no cost to you. Call 1-800-295-8323 for in-the-moment support, guidance and additional resources.