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How to counteract daylight saving transition via sleep scheduling

02-09-2014

How to counteract daylight saving transition via sleep scheduling

Daylight savings... apparently you are good for farmers, or something like that. We can tell you who you are not good for: all of the rest of us! In fact, daylight savings has a measurably negative impact on the population in general, with accidents rising in the week following the switch. While some people do not really struggle with the change of an hour forward or back, others do, finding it throws them for quite some time. If this is you, if you are out of odds for the week or so after daylight savings then there is good news, because you know when the change will occur you can prepare yourself for it so that when it comes you are able to deal with it in the best possible way.

So what can you do exactly? Well you can do what you do when you are preparing to change time zones, which is to start changing your sleep routine before the change so that when it occurs you are in sync with the new time rather than the old one. This works just as well for daylight savings as it does for jetlag (or better really as you are only changing an hour whereas with jetlag you can be dealing with a 12 hour time shift).

First and foremost though, you need to have  a regular sleep routine to start with. What this means is that you need to be going to sleep at about the same time every day and getting up at around the same time. This means weekends as well, this is where most people ruin their sleep routine. It really is best to go to bed and get up at the same time every day as it means that you are working with your body clock rather than constantly throwing it out.

Ok, so now that we have established how important a sleep routine is you need to start transitioning with sleep scheduling. What this means is you need to start shifting your sleep routine from the old time to the new time. If the clock is going forward you start pushing bed time forward, if back you start going to bed earlier.

To get the best results you need to do this gradually. So start a week or two out and make incremental changes. If you are starting two weeks out then you can start by going to bed twenty minutes earlier or later and, then after say six days add another twenty minutes, and then after another 6 or so days you can add the final twenty minutes. See how you go and don’t push it, you can always stretch it out past the change date if needed.

You may think that this sounds like hardly any change at all, but if you are someone who struggles with the clock shifting an hour this can help you so give it a go.


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