Did you make it through another Daylight Saving Time transition? Or are you … struggling today? Daylight Saving Time can either be a boon or a bust, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, we lose an hour “springing forward” — and let’s be honest, does anyone ever wish for one less hour in the day? Plus it’ll be that much darker when it’s time to crawl out of bed. On the flip side: more light in the evening hours means more time enjoying a walk or dining al fresco after work.
But to get to the good part, we have to go through some pain. Right, that lost hour. And this sleepiness doesn’t just make it hard to pay attention during a conference call: it can actually be dangerous. In fact, one study found that fatal car accidents increased the Monday after Daylight Saving Time.
So how can you make the transition a little smoother? Here are 4 tips to help put time on your side.
1. Make a gradual change
If adjusting to a lost hour is way too much for one fell swoop, ease into it by moving your bedtime back about 15 minutes and waking up 15 minutes earlier for 4 days in a row. This is particularly important for kids who crave schedules and have their own little internal clocks.
2. Get a better bedtime routine
If you’re losing an hour of sleep, you’re going to want to make sure that the sleep you do get is as restful as possible. Though it’s only a loss of one hour of sleep one time, the lack of morning light can make you feel extra groggy for days to come.
Try limiting your caffeine to the mornings and create a snooze-worthy evening routine that tells your body it’s bedtime. A soothing bath can also help, along with some stretching to let your body wind down. Then take care to leave electronics out of the bedroom. Research shows the blue light they emit can mess with your internal clock.
3. Make your room conducive to sleep
To maximize your sleep, create a lair that encourages it. Consider an eye mask or earplugs if outside light or noise is interfering. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and you’re neither too hot nor too cold. Ensure you have the right blankets and a room that’s kept at an ambient temperature of about 60 to 75 degrees.
4. Start a motivating morning routine
Want to burrow down under those covers because it’s sooooo dark during the first few weeks of Daylight Saving Time? Resist the urge by helping your body know it’s morning. The hardest part of getting out of bed is, well, getting out of bed, so consider putting your alarm clock across the room so you have to get up to turn off that incessant beeping. Once your feet are on the floor, they might as well stay there.
Then create a ritual that works for you, such as a few jumping jacks or stretches to get the blood moving, a warm shower, and then a bracing cup of coffee waiting for you in the kitchen. You can even set your coffee pot’s timer so that the smell will waft into your room and beckon you out. And if you decide you want to exercise in the morning, have your workout clothes laid out and put your shoes right by the bed so you can’t miss them.
With some pre-planning and a little touch of grit, maybe this year’s Daylight Saving Time can be just the impetus you need to turn yourself into a morning person once and for all! (Maybe.)