Daylight savings time (DST), and also sometimes referred to as summertime in certain countries, is the practice of moving our clocks ahead during the summertime so that evening daylight can last longer while letting go on normal sunrise times. Generally, regions that use daylight savings advance their clocks an hour forward during the start of spring and readjust it backward in fall – setting it to their standard time. Historically, daylight savings started in the summer months and ended in winter, although the dates have altered over the course of time as the American government has passed new statues, as per the US Naval Observatory.
This year, most Americans will be setting their clocks forward an hour on Sunday, March 11 as daylight savings will begin and the majority of US will be able to take advantage of an additional hour of daylight. Since we will be springing forward on a Sunday, which means you can enjoy that extra couple of hours of sleep. A day later, your sleep schedule is going to feel normal again. You may initially fuss about your lost hour, but you will soon forget about it.
Moving our clocks in any direction alters the primary time cue – light – for adjusting and readjusting our 24-hour circadian rhythm. During this process, our internal clock becomes mismatched or goes out of sync with our present day-night cycle. How well you adjust to this will depend on various factors.
Generally, “losing” one hour of sleep during the springtime is much trickier to adapt to when compared to “gaining” an hour in autumn. An “earlier” bedtime may bring difficulty falling asleep and increased alertness during the early part of the night.
How Does This Transition Feel?
If you are getting 7 – 8 hours of good-quality sleep and hit the bed a little early the night before, you might experience the decrements of concentration, performance, and memory, factors which are pretty common in sleep-deprived people, along with daytime sleepiness and exhaustion.
What Can You Do To Cope With the Effects of DST Better?
Even though your circadian rhythm is generated internally, it is certainly influenced by your behavior, medications, and the environment.
- As discussed above, light is the fundamental environmental cue. Light restricts the release of the sleep-inducing substance known as melatonin. For this reason, it is crucial to get exposed to the light during the waking hours as much as you can, and on the contrary, stay away from bright light when it is dark outside. For instance, if you feel like going to the bathroom at night, don’t switch on the light. You can install a night light and avoid any mishaps.
- Exercising a couple of hours prior to bedtime, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, taking a warm bath before bed, and wearing eye masks and earplugs are just some of the few things you can do to create a sleep-friendly environment that will improve your chances of falling asleep faster, staying asleep, and sleeping peacefully.