I think we all agree that it’s harder to “spring forward” into daylight saving time than to “fall back” to standard time. The main reason for this, is that many of us lose an hour of sleep on the night of the transition.

Another is that, with the change to DST, those on typical work or school schedules are exposed to less light in the morning and more at night. This may lead to later bedtimes, which can result in long-lasting sleep deficits. Let’s face it we all enjoy sitting out in the garden on a lovely, sunny evening or going for a bike ride, walk, run etc. So we do really need to work out the best way to incorporate this hour of sleep deprivation to suit our needs! Below I have collated some hints and tip for you to read and hopefully put some into practice.

Spring forward sleep tips

  • Transition gradually. Start going to bed 15 minutes early several days before the change. Make an extra effort to be well-rested the week before the time change.
  • Seek sunshine.  The morning after DST begins, step outside and catch some rays soon after you wake up. Sunlight helps to reset your body’s internal clock.
  • Take a sleep break. If you feel sleepy after the change to DST, take a short nap in the afternoon — but not too close to bedtime. Avoid sleeping in longer in the mornings. Your internal clock should adjust in several days.
  • Pace yourself. Try not to jam-pack your schedule right after the time change. Tackle important to-dos, like work presentations, later in the week if you can.  
  •  Drive safely. Be extra careful behind the wheel. Save that long-distance road trip for when you’re fully alert to lower your chances of getting into a car accident.
  • Know how much sleep you need. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep to be well-rested, and sleep requirements can change with age. To find your ideal number of hours, sleep without an alarm on weekends and see when you wake up naturally.
  •  Keep regular sleep hours. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends, to help your body regulate its sleep pattern. Be aware of how  napping affects your sleep quality. For some, a nap makes nighttime sleeping harder; but for others, a short nap (20 minutes) can be revitalizing without ruining their night’s sleep.
  • Get some exercise. Even moderate exercise, such as walking, can help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate movement, three times a week or more. If you often sleep poorly, don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
  • Avoid stimulating substances. Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid alcohol and caffeine for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Smokers should avoid tobacco, another stimulant, too close to bedtime.
  • Eat lightly at night. Indigestion from spicy or fatty food, or just having too much food in your stomach, can cause insomnia. For a better night’s sleep, eat light, simple foods several hours before bed. If you get hungry, have an easy-to-digest snack such as carbohydrates or dairy. Avoid drinking too much liquid before bed so that you don’t wake up to go to the toilet.
  • Relax before bed. Stress and overstimulation make it hard to fall asleep. Avoid intense TV programs or movies before bed. Relax with a warm bath and curl up with a book instead.  If anxiety keeps you awake, write out your schedule for the next day before going to bed, including possible solutions to any challenges you’re facing. If you’re worried about hitting a deadline, get up early to work instead of working late into the night. 
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment. Try sleep shades, earplugs, a white-noise machine, blackout curtains, or all four. Temperature helps, too: 60-65 degrees is best. Also, you need a comfortable mattress. If you have restless or snoring pets, keep them out of your room, along with all electronics, including your phone and TV. Save your bedroom for sleep, sex, and relaxing.
  • Don’t lie awake. If you can’t fall asleep, or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, don’t watch the clock. This only creates more anxiety. If you’re awake for more than 20 minutes, get up, go to another room and do something relaxing. Keep the lights low, have some warm milk, read a book, or write about whatever is on your mind until your eyelids get heavy. DO NOT TURN ON SCREENS!
  •  Avoid sleep aids. Taking melatonin at night could make you sleepy during the day. Some prescription sleeping pills can also make you less alert. Some can be addictive, too. Talk to your doctor before you try any sleep aid to learn about possible side effects and make sure it doesn’t interact with other meds you take.

    The main takeaway is, to start preparing for the hour change and a routine should then be established. Try to be consistent with sleep routine and enjoy the longer days!

    Below I have added some extra information from previous articles that can help you achieve a better nights sleep in general.

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