Spring forward and beat the daylight savings morning fog

March 3, 2020

Spring forward and beat the daylight savings morning fog
It is almost time for the clocks to spring forward now that Daylight Savings on the horizon. While the time change does bring later sunsets, it also knocks around your sleep schedule. You may experience morning grogginess that will make your morning routine tough at first.  A recent study published by sleep scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder found a 6% increase in fatal car crashes during the week following the daylight savings time switch. A driver’s loss of sleep, as well as the later sunrise meaning a darker morning commute, could be contributing to this spike.
It’s difficult to completely protect your circadian rhythm from the effects of the time change, but the National Sleep Foundation does suggest three things you can do to help lessen the blow to your sleep schedule.

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First, in the days preceding daylight savings time, be sure to get enough sleep. If you are already behind on catching some shut-eye, springing forward an hour will hit your body harder than if you were well-rested.
Second, soak up that natural sunlight. If you expose yourself to natural sunlight in the mornings, it will help your circadian rhythm adjust. Although sunrise will be later, be sure to get out in the sun when it is bright outside. On the flip side, when the sun goes down, dim the lights at home and limit screen time on electronic devices as you unwind.
Finally, your nighttime routine impacts how quickly you can drift off to sleep. For example, consider moving your late-night gym session to earlier in the day to prevent your body from being so active so close to bedtime. Try adjusting your caffeine intake to ensure your late afternoon cup of coffee isn’t keeping you awake an extra hour at night. Start your bedtime routine an hour early during the week that follows the daylight savings switch to help you catch up on the sleep you lost in the days prior.

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When it comes to helping your children adjust, these tips are just as important. Purchasing blackout curtains for their bedroom to keep the sunlight out at bedtime can help with the adjustment to daylight saving time. While most children and adults alike adjust to the time difference within a few days, it could take as long as a week. If you are unable to prepare in the days leading up to daylight savings by going to bed 10 to 20 minutes earlier each night by 10-20 minutes, consider trying to work backwards after we all adjust our clocks.
For those who struggle with a good night’s sleep outside of daylight savings time switches, the Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), offers exceptional expertise and comprehensive treatment for sleep disorders in both children and adults. To learn more, visit our Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorder webapge.

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