This post is part of a series of posts in recognition of Sleep Awareness Week, an annual campaign initiated by the National Sleep Foundation that runs from March 2-8, 2015. Be sure to follow SoClean on Facebook and Twitter for helpful tips and tricks as we celebrate this important campaign.
Whether or not you agree with Daylight Savings – believe it or not there are lots of ongoing debates about it! – the fact remains that come Sunday, March 8th at 2:00 a.m., most of the United States will spring forward and turn the clocks ahead one hour.
And as everyone knows, this means losing a precious hour of sleep, which, unfortunately, can have some pretty scary consequences. At a recent American Economic Association meeting, University of Colorado-Boulder phD candidate Austin Smith revealed that over a 10-year period, fatal car accidents increased about 6% in the six days after springing forward. One of the presumed reasons for this spike in car crash fatalities? Inadequate sleep.
Another study indicates that Daylight Savings is associated with a 10% increased risk of having a heart attack. Again, one of the big theories behind this is sleep deprivation.
Sure, it’s only one hour of lost sleep, but even that’s enough to disrupt the natural rhythm of the body. Following Daylight Savings, it’s possible that you may experience signs of sleep deprivation, which can compound the effects of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea for those who aren’t yet undergoing CPAP therapy or other treatments.
Fortunately, there are actions you can take to prepare for Daylight Savings and ease yourself through the spring transition. Here are some tips:
- Start the transition early. Allowing your body to gradually adjust to the change will make that Monday morning after Daylight Savings a lot more tolerable – well, as tolerable as a Monday can be. In the days leading up to March 8th, start going to sleep 15-30 minutes earlier than normal to prepare your body for waking up earlier after the time change.
- Avoid the urge to sleep in on Sunday. You’ll probably be tempted to sleep in – and it’s the weekend, so why not treat yourself? Well, because sleeping in will interfere with your body’s ability to adjust to the time change, that’s why.
- Be active on Sunday. Exercise helps advance your body clock. So does sunlight. If it’s a nice day, consider taking a morning or mid-day walk outdoors to take advantage of both.
In addition to following this Daylight Savings-specific advice, there are many ways to improve your sleep year round. For some of our favorite tips, check out the other post in our Sleep Awareness Week Series – Sleep Tips: 5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep.