Along with spring and fall weather comes daylight saving time. During those times, our circadian rhythm (the 24 hour cycle that makes you feel sleepy and awake) gets thrown out of balance. This can explain why you feel more tired and listless in the spring after you change your clocks. Even though we feel this way for a short period of time, it can still be irritating to deal with. Here are 5 ways you can start preparing beforehand so you are less affected by the time change.
- Work up to losing that hour. The week before daylight saving time, start going to bed 10–15 minutes earlier than the night before, so your body can get used to the time change.
- Seek light during the day, avoid light at night. When it is light where you are, it suppresses melatonin (the hormone that triggers your body to feel sleepy) to make you stay awake. So if you spend time in the sun during the day, you will feel more awake. If you avoid any kind of light at night, it will help you feel sleepier.
- Sleep only when you are sleepy. Sometimes the time change can cause you to have more trouble getting to sleep. If that is so, then don’t force yourself to sleep. Trying to force yourself will only make you frustrated and anxious. If you are sleepy during the day, take a quick power nap (fewer than 20 minutes) so you can feel more alert later on.
- Create a restful environment at night. Whenever you are trying to get a good night’s sleep, make sure that you are not exercising, consuming alcohol, caffeine, and food before bed, and keeping your room quiet and cool. Also make sure that you avoid watching TV or working on your computer in bed, as this keeps you awake rather than helping you sleep better.
- Take extra melatonin. Sometimes you may need more melatonin to help you feel less sleepy. You can get melatonin as a dietary supplement, but make sure you check with your doctor to make sure it doesn’t interfere with any other medications you are taking.