Published: March 7, 2018

    How to Help Your Body Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

    If you thought that Daylight Saving Time was actually “Daylight Saving’s Time,” you’re not alone. You’re also in good company if you want to do away with the hassle of moving our clocks back and forth – 74% of Americans polled want to do away with Daylight Saving Time altogether.

    But if the “spring forward” that’s fast approaching on March 11th wrecks your body, you’re truly part of the majority. That single hour of slumber lost wreaks havoc on people’s health nationwide each spring. Traffic accidents and heart attacks increase the Monday after the change, as people aren’t properly preparing their bodies. Adjusting to the earlier mornings can be rough, so take some precautions and follow our advice to keep your body firing on all cylinders as you reorient yourself to the new time.

    • Shift your bedtime gradually. Starting about one week before March 11th try to go to bed (and wake up) about 10 minutes earlier each day. The real blow dealt to your system is dealing with one hour of sleep lost in one go – spread out the change so your body can adapt.
    • Maintain your daily schedule. If you’ve been slowly adjusting, that’s great! Regardless, wake up at the same you would otherwise, and follow your schedule to the minute – eat lunch at the same time, work out at the same time, and start winding down for bed at the same time. Allow your body as little room as you can for bad habits to take hold.
    • Avoid mid-day naps. You may feel exhausted after the time has leapt forward one hour, but trying to compensate by taking a long nap during the day can further disrupt your sleep schedule at night. Instead, avoid any activities like driving if you’re tired and wait until your usual bedtime to fall asleep. You’ll be more rejuvenated the next day.
    • Create ideal sleep conditions. In general, you should avoid all caffeine after 2 p.m. so you aren’t alert in bed while trying to fall asleep. Because of the lost sleep during the “spring forward” of Daylight Saving Time you may be tempted to drink extra coffee or tea to get through the day, but beyond your morning cup skip the caffeine. Try to work out no later than four hours before you head to bed so your heart rate and blood flow can return to normal.
    • Eat healthy for better sleep. What you put into your body will directly affect the hormones released throughout the day. Eat some of these magnesium-rich foods to decrease your overall level of cortisol, the stress hormone: sunflower seeds, quinoa, dark chocolate, fish, and dark leafy greens. You should also regularly consume foods containing tryptophan to boost your body’s production of melatonin, which keeps your sleep cycle regular: chicken, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts, and milk.

    Follow these guidelines for a smoother, healthier transition into the spring. You can also beat the effects of Daylight Saving Time by drinking plenty of filtered water every day. Dehydration is a huge energy drain – stay alert throughout the day by grabbing a glass of water whenever you feel thirsty.