• Printer Friendly Version
  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size
  • PDF

Thursday, March 9, 2023

“If I Could Turn Back Time” … How to Prepare for Changing the Clocks

Posted By: Advancing Care

Every year on the second Sunday of March, our clocks move forward one hour. While daylight saving time allows us to enjoy more sunlight later in the day, it can also easily disrupt our circadian rhythms—the naturally occurring sleepiness and wakefulness cycles our bodies experience over a 24-hour period.

Getting enough sleep is incredibly important to our overall health. “Losing sleep may result in trouble concentrating, being productive and regulating your mood,” says Jonathan Berg, MD, pulmonologist and sleep expert at WMCHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital. “It can also lead to experiences of lower performance when exercising as well as exaggerated fatigue and daytime sleepiness.”

Here are some ways to prepare for daylight saving time to help your internal clock adjust.

Tips for sleep

1. Get enough sleep regularly

It’s important to think about your sleep habits not only during a time change, but year-round. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sleep duration is critical to maintaining your cardiovascular and neurological health. “Ideally, adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night,” says Dr. Berg. “In addition, recent studies have shown that getting a consistent amount of sleep each night has played a part in cardiovascular health.” Getting enough sleep on the days leading up to daylight saving time will ensure your body is well-rested and ready for the change.

2. Gradually shift your sleep schedule

Instead of losing one hour of sleep when daylight saving time starts, try shifting your bedtime a few minutes earlier every day in the week leading up to the time change. “Getting to bed even 10 minutes earlier every day will allow your body time to gradually adjust to an earlier wakeup, and you will be less tired after daylight saving time starts,” says Dr. Berg.

3. Adjust your clocks before you go to sleep

Another way to ensure you’re prepared for daylight saving time is to change the time on any household clocks or watches that don’t automatically change. Doing this allows you to wake up at the right time and avoid any timing-related mishaps the next day.

4. Spend some time outside

After daylight saving time begins, spend some time out in the sunlight. “Exposing your body to natural light has a significant effect on regulating your circadian rhythm,” says Dr. Berg. “Natural light is helpful even if it’s a cloudy day, so be sure to get outside to let nature work its course.”

5. Continue practicing healthy sleep habits

Daylight saving time serves as a good reminder of how important sleep is to our health. Even after the time change passes, be sure to practice healthy sleep habits to maintain your best quality of life. Some ways to improve your sleep hygiene include: 

  • Going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day
  • Limiting exposure to electronic devices and bright lights before bedtime 
  • Making your bedroom comfortable, quiet and dark
  • Exercising during the day
  • Avoiding large meals, caffeine and alcohol right before bed
  • Eating a healthy, whole-food diet

If you’re struggling with sleep, talk to your healthcare provider. “Assessing your sleep health and pinpointing the root cause of any issues you’re having is key to getting a better night’s sleep,” says Dr. Berg.

For more information about the Sleep Disorder Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital, visit Sleep Center.