This year, March 11 is the date to “spring forward” clocks ahead one hour. With everyday responsibilities like work, school, and family, losing an hour of sleep can really set you back.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting too little sleep doesn’t just leave you feeling a bit tired the next morning, it also decreases your ability to perform at your mental and physical best. Losing sleep also can increase your risk of diabetes, heart problems, and depression.
That means that getting the right amount of sleep is not only important this Sunday, but throughout the entire year. Instead of looking at Daylight Saving Time as the day when you lose an hour, look at it as the springboard to a better sleep routine every night, a press release from SleepSoundly.com suggests. SleepSoundly.com, a Web site that offers practical advice for getting a great night’s sleep, offers these tips so that Daylight Saving Time does not set you back.
1. Gradually go to bed earlier in the three or four nights leading up to Daylight Saving Time. While it may be hard to suddenly go to bed an hour earlier one night, ramping back your bedtime in 15 minute increments in the few nights before Saturday can make the transition easier.
2. Lower the lights in your room earlier so your brain gets the signal that it’s time to start winding down.
3. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that prepares your brain and body for sleep.
4. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime. Since you’ll be going to bed earlier, drink water with dinner instead of coffee or soda.
5. If it’s still light outside when you put the kids to bed, make sure to close any blinds and draperies so the room is as dark as possible.
6. Take a nap if you feel a bit groggy come Sunday afternoon, but make sure it’s not within a few hours of your regular bedtime, which can disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night.
7. Use Daylight Saving Time as a reminder to evaluate your sleep environment for a better year-round sleep experience.