Spring forward: 5 tips for daylight saving time | Health & Wellness Services
Daylight saving time starts Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m. local time, which means our clocks will jump ahead an hour (i.e. to 3 a.m.). On the bright side, we’ll enjoy more sunshine in the evenings. However, it also means that we’ll lose an hour of sleep and wake up to darker mornings. Even if it’s only an hour, it can be hard to adjust to abrupt time changes.
Here are some tips and reminders to help you prepare for and recoup from daylight saving time.
1. Change your clocks in advance
Set yourself up for success by changing your manual clocks ahead an hour on March 11 before you go to bed. This can include things like your stove, microwave, car clock and more. Preparing in advance can help save you from the confusion of what time it actually is come March 12.
2. Stick to your normal sleep schedule
We get it–staying up an extra hour because the clock says 11 but it feels like 10 can be tempting. However, it’s better to stick to your normal sleeping and waking schedule. For instance, if you go to bed at 10 p.m. before the time changes, continue to go to bed at that time.
If you’re struggling or don’t feel tired at your usual time, try easing into it by going to bed 15 minutes earlier every few days. This will help you maintain a normal bedtime schedule and avoid restless nights. It’s also a good idea to limit your screen time and caffeine intake later in the day, as these can disrupt sleep patterns.
Looking for additional sleep tips? Check out this article on tips for better sleep.
3. Soak up some sun
As the days get longer, it’s a great time to get outside and soak up sun rays and vitamin D. Make time each morning or afternoon to walk outside in the sunlight. Being outdoors can provide natural energy and help sync your circadian rhythm to the new time. Just remember to always wear broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 whenever you’re out in the sun.
If you find that sunshine late in the day is hindering your ability to fall asleep, consider using a sleep mask or light-blocking curtains. This can help you maintain your normal bedtime routine so you can get adequate sleep as we transition into summer.
4. Take a nap
While working on your nightly sleep routine is important, it’s also okay to take a nap when you need it. If you’re feeling groggy or tired from sleep loss, consider taking a 20 to 30 minute nap during the day. Students can access free nap pods at the Rec Center and Wardenburg Health Center Relaxation Stations.
5. Avoid the snooze button
Now is a great time to stop hitting snooze. If you hit the snooze button in the mornings, it can hinder your ability to get up in the morning. Instead, try setting your alarm 10 minutes later than you normally would and place it out of reach.