Don’t go to bed an hour earlier
It can be tempting to try and beat our body’s internal clock by heading to bed according to the clock—but that may not be wise, according to W. Christopher Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, and author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How To Fix It. “Moving our clocks earlier an hour is probably the toughest transition for us to make as it creates a situation where many feel compelled to go to sleep an hour early,” he says. (In countries and states that participate, daylight saving time begins in the March and clocks are moved ahead one hour; when daylight saving ends in November, clocks are moved back one hour.)
Dr. Winter says that during this time you may feel frustrated when you’re trying to fall asleep but your brain won’t shut down. “This brief insomnia can lend itself to a difficult time sleeping at night and the inevitable early morning can make for a difficult first day,” says Dr. Winter. “As a rule, I do not even attempt to go to bed at the new earlier bedtime during the first day.” (Check out these 50 easy ways to sleep better.)
Don’t ignore the effects of light
“I also pay close attention to the light in my environment,” says Dr. Winter. He aims for sunlight exposure in the morning—”full-spectrum dynamic lighting,” he says—to suppress the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin and help reset his circadian rhythm. “In the evening, I want to avoid that lighting, particularly the blue-green light that will make my brain want to avoid sleep. Innovative lighting companies like Soraa offer lamps that can help ensure that you have the right kind of lighting to help regulate your circadian rhythm, which can make daylight saving time a much smoother transition.”
Don’t underestimate the impact of losing or gaining an hour
Mohammad M. Amin, MBBCH at the Stony Brook Medicine Sleep Disorders Center, says there’s a reason for the time change being scheduled on a weekend instead of during the week. He says, “Daylight saving time is scheduled on a weekend, and it’s not by chance. It does have consequences on human sleep and daytime alertness. There is a temporary imbalance in our intrinsic circadian timekeeping system caused by the de-synchronization of the abrupt change of desired sleep-wake times.” Here are 11 eye-opening facts about daylight saving time.