It’s time. Our clocks are set to spring forward on Sunday, March 11, which means darker mornings and brighter evenings are in sight. The good news? This time change lets us make the most out of the daylight. The bad? It can wreak havoc on our sleep cycles. Here’s what you need to know to understand how the time change can impact your sleep:
Why does the time change affect my sleep?
Moving the clock forward is an almost certain way to throw off your circadian rhythm. Let’s back up. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up. It’s impacted by your environment - especially lightness and darkness. When it’s dark outside, your brain will take this as a cue that it’s time to power down for the day. Sunlight, on the other hand, tells your brain that it’s time to rise and shine.
It’s no surprise that the time change can impact your sleeping habits. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there. Darker mornings mean we’ll all want to spend a little extra time snuggled underneath the sheets. Since there’s no sunlight to signal to your body that it’s time to wake up, it can be harder to drag yourself out of bed.
How will I feel after the time change?
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel groggy, irritable, or tired in the days after we spring forward. The time change can even impact your ability to fully concentrate, making tasks take longer than normal. But fortunately, this is only temporary. These side effects shouldn’t last longer than a few days.
Drivers should be extra cautious on the roads following the time change. Almost everyone who gets behind the wheel is struggling to adjust - just like us. Even if you feel wide awake, keep an eye out for drowsy drivers.
How long will the time change affect me?
Everyone’s body is unique, so it’s difficult to predict exactly how long it will take for your body to adjust. Experts will tell you that people who are caught up on sleep adjust more easily to the time change than those who are sleep-deprived. If you’ve been getting your ZZZs, you may notice a slight change in your energy level for a day or so after we spring forward. You are the lucky ones. It can take others longer to adjust.
You may think that youngsters will bounce back faster than adults. We certainly did. Not the case. In fact, teens might suffer more than any other age group. People in this age group often have the hardest time adjusting to the time change.
How can I prepare for the time change?
There’s still about a week left before the time change occurs, so start preparing for it now. Since people who are well-rested tend to adjust better to a time change, make sure you get plenty of rest every night leading up to March 11. This very well may be the secret to bouncing back quickly after the clocks spring forward.
How can I adjust to the time change?
If you notice a major dip in energy after the time change, there are a few ways to help your body adjust to its new schedule:
1. Stick to your routine. If you normally go to bed at 10 p.m., keep going to bed at 10 p.m. If you usually unwind with a bubble bath before bed, keep getting your bubble bath on. Engaging in the same nighttime activities signals to your brain that it’s time to start prepping for sleep.
2. Adjust the light in your environment. Since the circadian rhythm responds to light and dark cues, you can help your body adjust simply by flipping the light switch. Turn on a light as soon as you wake up in the morning. It may be dark outside, but the artificial light can serve as a wake-up call to your brain so you don’t struggle to get out of bed. Let your body know when it’s time to go to sleep at night by turning off lights. We’re not just talking about the overhead light here, people. Power down any electronics that emit light, too.
3. Keep your power naps short. We know we’re not the only ones that will feel tempted by the allure of a mid-afternoon nap after the time change. We all want to make up for the sleep we’ve lost. Limit naps to 20 minutes or less, which is enough time to restore your body. If you nap for longer than 20 minutes, your body may assume a full night’s sleep is within its grasp. This can actually throw off your circadian rhythm even more and make it harder to adjust to the time change.
4. Don’t rely solely on caffeine. This may be a short-term fix for your fatigue, but it isn’t helping your body adjust to its new schedule. Caffeine can keep you alert for up to six hours, so try to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages in the late afternoons and evenings.
By now, you should be ready to prepare for and recover from the upcoming time change. If you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep, try a serving of Som Sleep. This supplement is designed to promote rest and relaxation so you can gently drift off into sleep. Drink one can 30 minutes before you plan on going to bed, then let our formula work its magic!