SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — Experts say you should start preparing now to limit the disruption daylight saving time has on your sleep cycle.
As we move forward on March 13, the lost hour of sleep can disrupt the body’s natural internal rhythms, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Drowsiness and drowsiness from this lost sleep can increase car crashes and even increase cardiovascular events.
Dr. Antoinette Rutherford, sleep medicine physician at Prisma Health, said early preparation can help mitigate the adverse effects of the daylight saving time change.
“Sleep deprivation can be more serious than just needing a second cup of coffee,” Dr. Rutherford said. “You’re going to lose an hour of sleep and you’re going to get up an hour earlier in terms of your body’s internal clock. But taking a few simple steps in advance can help you better manage change.
Before the time change, Dr. Rutherford had these seven tips you can use to improve your sleep and minimize the impact:
- Establish healthy sleep before the change date.
Make small adjustments to your bedtime several days in advance to minimize the impact of the change. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier for a few days, then 30 minutes earlier for a few days. The AASM advises adults to sleep at least seven hours a night before and after Daylight Saving Time.
- Get vitamin D.
Your internal clock is regulated by light and dark patterns, not by what it reads on your watch. With remote work, it can be difficult to get out of the house during the day. Try to work in an area of your home that receives natural sunlight. You can also try going out during your lunch or breaks.
- Avoid naps.
Daytime naps, even if you feel lazy, can keep you from falling asleep at night.
- Limit your screen time before bed.
Working on your computer, watching your TV, and scrolling through your phone stimulate your brain, which keeps you from falling asleep. Try turning off electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. Instead of scrolling through your phone or watching TV, shift your brain into a calm, relaxed state of mind by reading or listening to music.
- Be active.
Regular exercise improves the overall quality of your sleep. If possible, end your workout at least two hours before bedtime to allow your body to fully decompress.
- Separate your sleeping area and your work area.
Having different spaces where you work in one and relax in the other helps you associate space with action. Try to avoid working from your bed and make your bed a place where you can relax and sleep.
- Maintain your sleep schedule.
Remote work has changed many people’s sleep schedules as they no longer have to spend time in the morning getting ready and commuting to work. It’s important to set a time when you’ll wake up each morning, even if you can nap until the last minute. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will not only help you adapt better to the time change, but will also improve the overall quality of your sleep.