Switching your clock for daylight saving time means the beginning of sun-soaked days and long bright nights. It heralds the time for evenings filled with barbecues, outdoor exercise and garden parties.
But shifting your body clock can cause havoc to your routine – experts say the effect from daylight saving time is similar to jet lag.
While the body’s circadian clock is designed to adjust to these changes, it takes a few sleepy, tired days to get used to a new time zone. Here are nine tips for making the transition to daylight saving time a little easier.
Exposing yourself to light in the morning helps to regulate the internal body clock and the sleep-wake cycle. It aids the production of the hormone melatonin, which signals to the body that it’s time for bed. By getting some sunshine in the morning, you’ll feel alert during the day and sleepy by nightfall.
If you do find that you’re tired during the day, don’t punish yourself by trying to stay awake. Have a short nap in the afternoon. So long as it’s less than 20 minutes long, it can help to stave off sleepiness and give you an energy boost, without compromising on your nighttime rest.
In the days following daylight saving, commit to getting a full night’s sleep. The average adult needs 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Work backward from the time you need to wake up and commit to going to bed in order to get at least 7 hours sleep.
Having a regular schedule can also help to ease the transition into the new time zone. Try to have a consistent bedtime and wake-up call – even on the weekends.
Incorporate some moderate exercise into your regime, such as walking, to help you sleep better. Try to make sure you don’t work out within two hours of going to sleep, or you’ll find it difficult to doze off.
Alcohol and caffeine can interrupt your sleep. Try to wean yourself off these habits in the evening, to give yourself the best sleep possible. Remember caffeine is not only found in coffee – it’s also a component in tea, chocolate and soft drinks.
Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bed. Eating too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality.
Create a bedtime ritual that is relaxing. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music, or soaking in a hot bath or shower.
The light from screens has an alerting effect, stimulating your brain cells. Cut down on your late-night TV watching and social media to ensure you get a good night’s rest.