If the switch to daylight saving time has left you feeling groggy and run down, you’re not alone. Changing the clocks by only one hour may not seem like much, but it’s enough to throw many people off for several days. The one hour loss of sleep can leave you tired the next day, but it’s a change in circadian rhythms that can cause you to feel fatigued for days following the switch.
According to an article in Science Daily, Circadian rhythms act as your body’s clock, determining several biological functions throughout the day including when you should be awake and when you should be falling asleep. Light acts as a direct link to circadian rhythms, so when the hours of daylight change the body’s circadian rhythms are thrown off causing you to feel groggy or fatigued during the day. For anyone already having difficulty sleeping, daylight saving time can be particularly detrimental. Fortunately, there are a few things anyone can do to help get over the post-time-change slump.
First, consider staying inside in the evenings for a few days. While the added hour of daylight is a welcome change and may make you want to spend more time outdoors, not exposing yourself to that last hour of daylight can help your body and its circadian rhythm adjust more quickly.
Pulling curtains over your bedroom windows can also help you to fall asleep faster and more easily. Since it’s now also darker in the morning when you wake up, it’s important to try and expose yourself to light and the sun as soon as possible after you wake up. Getting light earlier in the morning makes your body want to fall asleep earlier at night. In a recent USA Today article, New York pulmonologist and sleep specialist Nicholas Rummo also recommended avoiding alcohol and caffeine for the days following the switch, as they both may interfere with the hormones that regulate your body.
And finally, don’t forget to practice good sleep habits and sleep hygiene year round, including trying to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. For more tips on how much sleep you should get and why it’s so important, visit the SleepPhones website. Following these helpful hints may help you to feel re-energized and get you outside enjoying the added daylight in no time!