If you’re a parent of little ones, I’m sure you’re well aware of the unfortunate reality daylight saving time (DST) has on your kids and your own sleep quality, especially when we spring forward and lose an hour of sleep.
It seems as if right as we settle into a good bedtime routine, it’s time yet again to change our clocks.
With DST ending soon and the upcoming transition back to standard time, we thought we’d share what actually happens to our quality of sleep when we change our clocks and fall back.
Daylight Saving Time
Daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday of March for the majority of the United States and reverts back to standard time on the first Sunday in November. This means the clocks will fall back one hour on November 6th of this year.
Daylight saving time serves as a way for most of the population to make better use of daylight hours. During daylight saving time, we move the clocks one hour forward, essentially moving one hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.
Many are familiar with the saying spring forward, fall back, which is an easy way to remember that we move the clock one hour forward when DST begins and revert one hour back in the fall.
So what does losing this hour of daylight really do to our sleep quality? Let’s walk through what exactly happens during and after DST.
Effects of Daylight Saving Time
While moving the clock by one single hour may seem relatively minor, it actually has considerable impacts on sleep and health. This especially happens in the spring when we move our clocks forward.
Studies have shown that the week following the start of DST there is an associated rise in:
- Increase in cardiovascular disease by 24%
- Increase in stroke rates by 8%
- Increase in depressive episodes by 11% an
- Increase in fatal car accidents by 6%
DST also has a significant effect on our sleep quality. This causes many people to experience insomnia and other sleep-related issues.
Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Sleep Quality
Sleep quality and the health of our sleep depends largely on the balance between sleep homeostasis, our desire to sleep, and our circadian rhythm, our body’s natural 24-hour cycle.
The circadian rhythm is dependent on exposure to light. So for the greatest sleep quality, the circadian rhythm needs to be synchronized with natural light-dark cycles.
The transition between DST and standard time, which is the period between November and March, has darker mornings and lighter evenings. This results in a delay in our circadian rhythm, generally making us more tired in the mornings and increasing energy in the evenings. Hence, throwing off our bodies natural sleep-wake cycles.
How to Prevent Daylight Saving Time from Affecting your Sleep Quality
Time changes are going to happen one way or another. If you are part of the majority who feels the effects of these shifts, we have some helpful tips for you to hopefully diminish the symptoms experienced.
Create a sleep routine
Creating a consistent bedtime routine will allow your body to follow its natural sleep-wake cycle even after DST hits. Keep in mind most adults should aim for 7 hours of sleep each night.
Practice good sleep habits
Practicing healthy sleep habits will make the transition between time changes far easier and will likely minimize the effects completely. Implementing habits like limiting caffeine and alcohol before bed and following a consistent bedtime routine will also help.
Shift your bedtime
Most sleep experts will tell you waking up 15-20 minutes earlier a couple of days prior to DST will help your body gradually adjust to the time change.
During the day, exposure to sunlight may alleviate tiredness that often occurs during time changes since natural light drives our circadian rhythms. So we suggest getting outside as often as possible, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.
Regardless of the time change, we hope you find these tips helpful and use them to guide and maintain your sleep quality. MLILY strives to partner with everyone in their pursuit of a more rested life. We have a dedicated sleep blog to help arm you with all the information and tips you’ll need to elevate your nighttime. We also offer top-of-the-line sleep products that have revolutionized the way we doze. Shop MLILY today and discover what dreams are made of.