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Spring Forward Effectively: 5 Tips to Adjust to Daylight Savings Time

It’s daylight savings time! Tonight (at 2am to be exact) Aussie’s will be advancing our clocks by one hour. This means we can look forward to longer summer nights, but this can also mean that some of us will struggle tomorrow morning. “Springing forward” is more difficult to adjust to than “falling back” because If we go to bed at the same time as usual, we will lose one hour of sleep and wake up to a darker morning. Both of these circumstances may affect our level of fatigue and ability to function tomorrow.

Here are some tips spring forward effectively:

1. Go to sleep a little earlier tonight. Most of us will have a bedtime range, for instance, between 11pm and 11:30. Simply choose to go to bed in the early part of your range so you get that extra half hour or hour of sleep.

2. Accept reality. The reality is you may have trouble either falling asleep earlier tonight or waking up tomorrow morning having lost an hour overnight and facing a darker morning. Feeling frustrated by something that we can not change just adds to the struggle. Sometimes, just accepting that sleeping and waking up may be a bit challenging over the next couple of days is the easiest way to adjust to the time change.

3. Be Mindful. Some studies have shown an increase in car accidents on the morning after a time change, so take extra care on Sunday when you’re driving. Notice if you are feeling sleepy while driving, and take breaks to rest, and if possible, choose to walk or stay home instead.

4. Light adjustments. Light, especially sunlight or lack of it, is the main cue for wakefulness and sleep. Make sure to expose yourself to sunlight during the day and then dim the lights in your home and on your phone at night to help your body get ready for sleep.

5. Be Patient. Your circadian rhythm will be thrown off a bit due to the time change, and getting up in the dark will be challenging at first, but it usually takes only a few days for our bodies to adjust. Take care of yourself & practice good sleep hygiene (Read LIFEBLOCKERS: The Sleep Edition for more on this), and your sleep will be back on track.

Note: If you have chronic sleep problems, then “springing forward” may have a greater impact on your level of fatigue, ability to function during the day, and the length of time it takes to adjust. Sleeping well is important for your physical and mental health so seek professional help if you experience long-term difficulties falling or staying asleep.

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