Resetting your clocks for Daylight Saving Time can be a major setback for your sleep schedule. Especially when you “Spring Forward” and lose an hour of sleep in March, the time change can majorly disrupt your daily routine. That’s why it pays to know what things you can do ahead of time to combat the adverse effects of DST.
Since we’re all about making sure you get the best sleep possible, we’ve gathered some foolproof steps to help get you through the next Daylight Saving Time. From forging a relaxing pre-bedtime plan to simply adding a few minutes of cardio to your usual workout routine, here are seven ways to survive DST like a pro.
1. Promise yourself a solid 8 hours of sleep
Getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is by far the most important you can do ease the blow of DST. Even if you’re preparing to gain an extra hour, having a solid sleep schedule in place will allow you to plan accordingly. At least one week before Daylight Saving Time begins, establish a firm bedtime based on the upcoming time change—work backwards 78 hours from the time you need to get up and then add or subtract an hour—to ensure the switch up won’t mess with your sleep schedule.
2. Create a nightly wind-down routine
The best way to guarantee a good night’s sleep is to have some kind of relaxing routine that helps you to unwind before bedtime. Two hours before bed, do something that forces you to chill out—take a bath, do yoga, watch an episode of TV—to get your body and brain into wind-down mode so you can stick to your sleep schedule despite DST.
3. Add at least 15 minutes of exercise to your day
Whether it’s walking to work or taking in an extra round of cardio at the gym, a little bit of exercise will go a long way in easing you through Daylight Saving Time. Along with relieving stress and anxiety, adding fifteen minutes of exercise to your daily routine before and during the week of DST will help expend energy—especially if you just gained an hour—and fall asleep at your set bedtime.
4. Eat well (and not too late)
Not only will eating poorly less than two hours before bedtime keep you awake, it will totally mess up your metabolism the next day, too. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, leafy greens, and healthy protein throughout the day so you’ll stay full and won’t struggle with sleep issues—or weight gain—once the time change this.
5. Don't oversleep
Although an extra hour of sleep might seem enticing, DST in the Fall is not the time to score some ZZZs. Just like losing an hour of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation, oversleeping can leave you feeling groggy and make it hard to fall asleep on time the rest of the week.
6. Double-check your upcoming appointments
Once your sleep schedule is down, all you have left to worry about before Daylight Saving Time are the technicalities. If you have any meetings or appointments the Sunday or Monday following DST, double check that the time still works and that more importantly, the person you’re seeing remembers the time change!
7. Make sure you change your clocks - all of them!
While most of our smart phones, laptops, and other digitally advanced electronic devices adjust to the time change of DST on their own, that doesn’t mean your analog bases are covered. Remember to change your microwave, alarm, car, and in some cases television clocks the night before Daylight Saving Time so you don’t get confused about timing come Monday.
Although Daylight Saving Time can be a real setback for your daily schedule, there are still plenty of ways to breeze through the time change. So next time your find yourself fretting over DST, take some action in advance and spare yourself the unnecessary stress (and score a good night’s sleep instead).