Juggling your lineup of work, school and family responsibilities may be no easy task to begin with, and it can get even more hectic with daylight savings time thrown into the mix. Losing that single hour can result in bleary-eyed family breakfasts, provided you can everyone out of bed for breakfast at all. Even though the clock may change, your job, college classes and children’s school and activity schedules remain as harried as ever.
Why Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time is Tough
The body has a tough time adjusting to time changes because the changes disrupt your internal clock. Your internal clock runs on a 24-hour cycle, playing a role in your sleep cycles, appetite, body temperature and hormonal changes. Any of your bodily processes that follow this clock are known as circadian rhythms, and they get thrown off when you take an hour away from the clock’s usual 24-hour cycle.
Tips for Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time
Even though your circadian rhythm is controlled by internal forces, WebMD notes it can be influenced by external forces, such as your behaviors and the environment.
Get to Bed Slightly Earlier
Rather than shocking your internal clock by suddenly taking an hour away from its schedule, you can make a gentler transition. About four days before daylight savings time begins, start getting yourself and your kids to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. While it may still take a bit longer to fall asleep, disrupting your body’s pattern by 15 minutes can be much more effective than trying to get to sleep a full hour before your body expects.
Be Mindful of the Light
Light cues your body that it’s time to be awake by reducing your body’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin. Getting out into the light during the day can help by cueing your body it’s time to be awake while steering clear of bright light at night can help cue your body it’s time to sleep.
Create a Soothing Environment
Creating a soothing sleep environment and sleep-friendly bedtime rituals can also help you and your kids get to sleep earlier and wake up on time. Retiring to a dark and comfortable bedroom, listening to soothing music, saying bedtime prayers and avoiding caffeine and exercise can also ensure sound sleep for adequate energy to face your busy day ahead.