As many people know, losing just one hour of sleep can make a big difference in your health and attitude. Fortunately, Newsweek is reporting about the data gathered from sleep studies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. One interesting thing of note is why losing an hour is so much harder to adjust to than gaining an hour. As it turns out, the human’s natural internal body clock and daily rhythms are slightly longer than 24 hours, so we all have an inclination to delay our sleep schedules. While the jet lag feeling is certainly annoying, there are actually more serious consequences — sleep deprivation can result in an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
So how do we counteract our natural, internal clock? For one thing, make sure you already have a regular sleep schedule. The average adult needs anywhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. “Sleep debt” is not sustainable, meaning you can’t save all your sleep for the weekend. Another way to do this is to start going to bed 15 to 20 minutes before you normally do in the weeks preceding daylight saving. If this is difficult to do, try waking up and hour earlier, ensuring you’ll be more tired by night time.
One less hour (of sleep) isn't the end of the world, but you may be a bit sleepier Sunday morning https://t.co/thedptbIFT
— Bloomberg (@business) March 9, 2019
Another way you can naturally adapt to daylight saving is with the use of light. Light works as a signal for our internal clock, so you can trick your brain into changing that clock. It’s recommended you get tons of bright light when you wake up to signal to your body that it is time to perform. If you don’t have any natural bright light from the sun, artificial lighting like lamps will suffice. This idea also works for sleep — make sure there are no bright lights when you are trying to settle down, including blue lights from electronics. If you turn your electronics off an hour or two before you plan to go to bed, you should fall asleep quickly and on schedule. There are also special room-darkening curtains that many people have found to be helpful if there is still some light outside.
Of course, exercise can play a huge part in your energy levels. Researchers recommend you exercise earlier in the day when adjusting to daylight saving, and winding down at night. Cut out caffeine after noon, and stay away from your nightly glass of wine while you’re still getting used to things. Soon enough, you will have fully adapted to your new schedule!