Time to change the clock!
If you live in the US, this Sunday is the start of Daylight Saving Time. A practice of shifting daylight hours that was invented during World War I to conserve energy and make use of more sunlight hours in the spring, summer, and fall.
If you live in other parts of the world, you will either set your clocks forward 1 hour this Sunday, later this month, or not at all since every country or region doesn’t adhere to this practice. But for the 1 billion of us who live in the areas that do, changing the clocks in our house can wreak havoc on our internal clock – known as our circadian rhythm.
Studies have shown that changing the clocks, especially losing the hour of sleep in March, can lead to an increase in heart attacks, car accidents, suicides, and workplace injuries. The shift can also cause sleep loss, increased brain fog, and drowsiness.
The clock change can be especially tough on families with kids who depend upon a routine sleep schedule.
So how can you beat back the fatigue and shorten your adjustment time to the shift? Try any or all of these tips.
- Go to bed and get up 20 minutes earlier starting 4 days before the change.
- Begin to shift kids’ entire routine (ie. mealtime, bath time, and bedtime) 20 minutes earlier each day for 4 days so that by DST you have already shifted one hour.
- The night of the change try to get to bed 1 hour earlier.
- Try to get outside for some sun exposure as soon as you wake up. This can help your body adjust to the change by shutting down melatonin the sleep hormone.
- If you have the time, this is where naps can come in handy to help you catch up on some of that lost sleep. Just make sure to stick to 20-30 minutes and don’t take a nap too close to bedtime.
- You can also consider supplementing with melatonin for a few days to help your own natural melatonin production catch up to the difference in time. Always ask your doctor about adding supplements to your routine.
Your body should adjust within a week or two to the change but be sure to be careful if you are feeling extra tired.