Daylight Savings Time and the Battle for Sleep
Updated: Mar 9
Daylight savings time begins on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 2:00am. The time moves ahead one hour, and our circadian rhythms will be disrupted. We’ll have more daylight for gardening, sports, or long walks outside, but the loss of that natural hour of darkness in the morning disrupts our sleep patterns.
Getting a good night’s sleep is foundational to good health. “Deep sleep is essential for the optimal functioning of both the body and the brain,” says Dr. Ruby Sooch, IEP Emergency Physician and Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at Ascension Providence hospital in Novi. Many experts say that everyone, and especially children, should gradually adjust their sleeping and waking time when we have a time change. Having a consistent sleep-wake cycle is a proven tactic for getting a good night’s sleep.
“Since the time change is an unnatural disruption, making us groggy and feeling “out of synch” on the Monday or Tuesday after a time change. Start adjusting your sleep wake time a few days earlier. This will help your body adjust better to the time change," says Dr. Sooch.
The hard part will be getting up when it’s still dark out. Our bodies naturally want to keep sleeping and doing that will disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
This Business Insider article does a great job of describing the stages of sleep we experience along with tips on how to get a good quality night of sleep. These are our top tips:
Establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle
Get about 8 hours of quality sleep each night
Understand the definition of quality sleep and strive to achieve it
Expose yourself to sunlight or artificial light first thing in the morning
Engage in some sort of daily exercise – even a ten minute walk is beneficial
Avoid caffeine and possibly other liquids that may disrupt your night of sleep
Stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before bed
And this is the hard one, even for us - The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you should stop using all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed
If you occasionally or regularly have an issue falling asleep or falling back asleep after you wake up in the middle of the night, here are some helpful tips:
There are a variety of simple and effective breathing techniques can employ to relax your mind and body. Here is a video of the 4-7-8 technique popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil.
NPR explains how A warm bath an hour or two before bed helps lower your core body temperature which helps you fall asleep faster.
Keep your bedroom completely dark and purchase black out curtains if necessary.
Keep it cool – set that nighttime temperature to around 65 degrees for a best night’s sleep.