As clocks march ahead of time and daylight saving time begins, there is a lot of anxiety around losing that precious hour of sleep and how to adjust to the change. Usually an hour seems like an insignificant amount of time, but considering the global epidemic of our sleep-deprived society, even this minimal loss causes problems. There are serious health repercussions of this forcible shift in our biological clocks. Springing forward is usually harder that falling backward. Why is this so? Our natural circadian rhythm is slightly longer than 24 hours, so we have a tendency to delay our sleep schedules. Thus, “springing forward” is going against that natural rhythm. It is like a mild case of jet lag caused by traveling east when we lose time and have a hard time falling asleep at an earlier hour.
Consequences of Sleep Loss Vary When daylight savings time (DST) is just around the corner, people are starting to think of ways how they can adjust to the sudden change. Losing one hour of sleep means lesser productivity, creativity, and energy. It might come off as an insignificant amount, but to a society that already doesn’t value sleep enough, a single minute can mean a lot. Why is it hard to spring forward than to fall backward? An average person’s daily rhythm and internal body clock are a bit longer than 24 hours, so it’s a common sight to delay sleeping schedules. “Springing forward” means that you are going against the natural rhythm. Think of it as a mild case of jet lag. Consequences of Sleep Deprivation Studies have proven that sleep deprivation among individuals poses an increased risk of stroke, heart attacks, and blood pressure on top of injuries from the workplace and the road. What can we do to cope with the change of body-clock timing? In the weeks leading to the certain daylight savings time, ensure that you get adequate sleep regularly. Adults would typically need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Children on the other hand, have varying sleep requirements depending on their age. Start preparing the body for a change by going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier every night in the week before the dreaded day. On the last day before DST, try to wake up an hour early than the usual to help you fall asleep quicker later that day.
Use natural light to help your body wake up earlier; bright artificial light also works fine. It’s the most reliable cue that can help adjust your body clock. To help you sleep early, you must avoid any blue light and you can use room-darkening curtain. Create an efficient schedule that you will strictly follow. Do some exercise in the morning and relaxing activities in the evening. Do not intake any drinks with caffeine in the afternoon and avoid alcohol at bedtime. For families, kids might have a hard time adjusting, so be patient. Give them a 20-minute nap time early in the afternoon until they get used to the change. Electronics like smartphones, video games, tablets, and televisions can affect sleep quality. The blue light it emits signals our body clock to wake up earlier the next day and messes with our body rhythm.