Welcome to Standard Time! Updating our physical and digital clocks is fairly quick but one of our most important clocks can take much longer to update. It is likely yours still isn’t correct and the good news is there are a few ways you can help it adjust!
Daylight Saving Time, often incorrectly called Daylight Savings Time, just ended this morning and originally served as a way to reduce energy usage. It was implemented by several countries during World War II to conserve fuel for the war too.
A study by the Department of Energy found Daylight Saving Time (DST) does reduce energy usage by about half a percent. However, those savings don’t come without other costs. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is against DST and they state Standard Time more closely aligns with the daily rhythms of the body’s internal clock. Good thing Standard Time is starting!
The switch from DST to Standard time can cause many people to have a harder time falling asleep as we adjust and our circadian rhythm - the critical, internal clock in our brain that manages our sleep-wake cycle.
Our brains need time to prepare for our new schedule and our ability to “clean” our brain of toxins improves with sleep.
Here are six tips that could help you get your clock set correctly over the next few days:
- Ease into the change - falling asleep at a different time can be tough and shifting bedtime by 15 minutes a night can make the transition easier.
- Get the light you need - light suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. It is beneficial to expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible. Similarly, limit your exposure to bright light when it is dark outside, including use of electronics closer to your bedtime.
- Focus on a sleep schedule - making a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time will help your body regulate your sleep cycle.
- Be thoughtful about caffeine - studies show caffeine nearing bedtime, even up to six hours before bed, can cause you to lose a full hour of sleep.
- Stock up on foods that nourish - we tend to eat more when we are tired and protein is a good source to help you feel full. Give your body good energy from healthy foods.
- Develop your Sleep Hygiene - those actions you can take to create sleep-friendly environments and enhance your chances of falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping soundly are important. Basic sleep hygiene includes reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol, exercising several hours before bed, creating calming rituals before bed to gradually relax yourself (such as taking a hot bath), and wearing ear plugs or eye masks, to name a few.