The tradition of daylight saving time began well before modern-day lifestyles and technologies made the adjustment almost needless. In 1907, Englishman William Willett published “The Waste of Daylight” to promote the idea of pushing the clock forward by 80 minutes in the spring and summer months. Although his idea never gained any traction at the time, the desire to conserve electricity during World War I inspired Germany to start observing the change of time. Soon thereafter, the United Kingdom took up “summer time.” Most people erroneously believe that it was Benjamin Franklin who spearheaded the timely idea and that American farmers lobbied for it to benefit their work schedule. Regardless of its origins, the majority of U.S. states (except for Hawaii and Arizona) follows the tradition by pushing the clock forward one hour in the springtime and setting it back one hour in the fall.
For some people, it’s no big deal. For others, it wreaks havoc on their schedules. A little preparation however can go a long way when it comes to managing the transition.
- Adjust your bedtime
Starting on the Monday prior (in this case, Monday, March 2), go to bed 10 minutes earlier than your normal time each night. If you usually turn in at 11pm, go to sleep at 10:50 on Monday, 10:40 on Tuesday, 10:30 on Wednesday and so on. By the time Sunday comes, you’ll be used to going to bed earlier and waking up earlier will be that much easier.
- Reset your clock early
Instead of waiting until you wake up on Sunday to fix your watch and all of the clocks around the house, reset all timepieces on Saturday morning—unless you have appointments or meetings that day that might interfere. If you get used to operating on the new hour a day early, you’ll have a much easier time when you return to your work routine come Monday morning.
- Get outside
Spend time outdoors in the early morning and late afternoon to acclimate to the levels of natural light. Get your vigorous exercise done in the morning and then use the extra hour of evening daylight to go for an easy walk around your neighborhood. Exposure to the setting sun will help your circadian rhythm get in line.
- Cut out caffeine
Limit your caffeine intake after 4pm. Beyond coffee, avoid tea, sodas and chocolate if possible. Even certain ice creams, pain relievers, energy waters, breath fresheners, and decaf coffee has some of the jittery stuff.
- Nap with caution
Don’t let yourself lie down for a nap if you get sluggish later in the day. A brief, 20-minute rest early in the afternoon is okay, but try to keep busy, push through it and go to bed at your normal time.
- Stay away from screens
Shut down all television and computer screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime. The content and the screens themselves can be too stimulating. Plus, the artificial light that these devices give off disrupts the sleep-promoting chemicals in your brain. Instead, listen to some soft music, read a book (nothing too intense or dramatic!) or simply meditate and help your body relax before drifting off to dreamland.
- Ignore the clock
Closely watching the clock will only make you more aware of the time and it’s best for your body’s internal clock to adjust on its own. If you can’t fall asleep on Sunday night because it still feels too early, turn the clock towards the wall, get out of bed and try reading on your couch for a bit under a low light. As soon as you start to feel sleepy, get back in bed. Whatever you do, don’t have a glass of wine to try to make yourself sleepy. You won’t rest as well if you have alcohol in your system.
- Do some housekeeping
After you reset all the clocks around your home, take a few moments to check other important tools that keep your household running smoothly and safely. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries. Check emergency flashlights too. Do a review of your medicine cabinet and throw away any expired pills.
Author: Slumberless Team
Slumberless is a small group of people that are passionate about finding ways to have a more restful sleep every night