Spring Forward: Ten Tips to Help You Ease into Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) was created to save energy resources, but many people feel it saps human energy resources by contributing to the existing problem of sleep insufficiency, which the Center for Disease Control has declared a national epidemic.

The phrase, Spring Ahead and Fall Back, was created to help us remember which way to turn the clocks in spring and fall, to accommodate DST. The phrase, Easier Said than Done, describes our feelings about losing an hour of sleep to make the change.

In most areas of the Western World, DST begins on Sunday, March 8, when we turn our clocks ahead and lose an hour (that day is only 23 hours long-yikes!). Whether you like it or not, you have no choice but to get in line—and be sure you do it an hour early.

On the positive side, DST is surely a harbinger of spring, and with a few tips from Belleruth's comprehensive sleep report, the transition can be much easier:

  1. If possible, try to go to sleep and wake up routinely at around the same time each day. (Yes, when the time changes, this will mean getting up an hour early, even on days off).

  2. If you're a worrier, try to make a habit of writing down, before bedtime, all the things you need to take care of for the next day, so that you are, in essence, getting them out of your head.

  3. Consider napping. Napping can be a beautiful thing, but not after 4 p.m. (by the clock).

  4. Darken your bedroom. If necessary, invest in real-deal, room-darkening window shades. Use a thick towel to cover digital clocks, phones, computer cords and anything else that emits light, so your body will produce melatonin. You will be surprised what a perfectly dark room can do for you.

  5. Getting sufficient natural light during the day is equally important for regulating your melatonin production, so make sure to spend some time outside if you work in an area with artificial light.

  6. Keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated.

  7. Keep your sleeping space simple, uncluttered and pleasing to the eye. Surround yourself with a few objects that feed your spirit and nourish your soul.

  8. Don't rely on alcohol to relax you at bedtime. It's likely to cause you to wake 2 or 3 hours later.

  9. If you read before falling asleep, avoid back-lit reading, as on a computer or tablet. That kind of light wakes up your brain.

  10. Before bed, avoid activities like balancing your checkbook and watching violent movies or TV. Instead try relaxing with some yoga breathing, soothing music, meditation or guided imagery.

For more information, read the complete report, An Epidemic of Sleeplessness by Belleruth Naparstek.

To view a list of areas where DST is observed, and those where it isn't, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/2015.html.

Tell us your tricks for taming the time change and what's going on in your part of the world. As always, we love hearing from you. Happy pre-spring from your friends at Health Journeys.