Daylight Saving is here which means summer is just around the corner – sort of.
The extra hour of daylight in the evenings means plenty of time for getting to those much neglected after work activities but losing an hour of sleep can be an adjustment.
Here are a few tricks we've put together to help you surviving the time change:
Eat an early dinner
Our sleep cycle is affected by our appetite, so eating a little earlier the night before could help with getting some extra sleep before the start of Daylight Saving Time.
According to Dr Alcibiades Rodriguez from the Neurology Department at the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center-Sleep Center, finishing your dinner an hour earlier than normal sets your body up to expect to go to bed sooner.
“We have a circadian rhythm [that] is coinciding with the time we eat,” he explained. “We need to coincide our sleep pattern with our eating pattern.”
Don’t underestimate the power of an afternoon nap
If you can’t get to bed early the night before Daylight Savings starts, take a nap so you’re not exhausted the next day.
Dr. Charles Czeisler, chief of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said sleep deprivation due to Daylight Savings affects people in all sorts of different ways, so getting enough sleep is vital to good health.
“Many people they go to bed at usual time and they lose an hour of sleep and many different physiological systems are affected by that loss of sleep and the shift of circadian rhythm,” he explained. “It’s harder to reset to earlier hours.”
He pointed out that even though Daylight Saving Time means losing just one hour, it has large health consequences. Dr Czeisler said that heart attack risk goes up 5 percent and car crashes go up 17 percent immediately after Daylight Saving Time starts.
Ditch all screens before bed
Giving yourself a break from screens before bedtime isn’t new advice. Experts have been citing the effect of technology and the impact it has on sleep for years now. But its advice well-worth heeding especially as restless nights can set in before the body settles and adjusts to the time-shift.
Dr Czeisler suggests reducing time in front of the TV, computer or smartphone can help.
"You can turn down intensity in screens or ideally turn them off and just be mindful."
Losing sleep is stressful to different parts of the body, so it’s really important to be proactive when Daylight Savings starts, he said.
“The immune system, cardiovascular system and appetite hormones can all go haywire without enough sleep.”