Daylight saving time changes have a knack for wrecking people’s sleep schedules, but they don’t have to, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
The annual tradition this year is set to start at 2 a.m. on Sunday, requiring all Americans to set their clocks forward one hour. Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Nov. 5 this year.
The practice of moving clocks ahead or back one hour each year has deprived many Americans of sleep for decades — so much that some state and federal lawmakers have tried to stop it. So far, their efforts have not been exactly fruitful.
So while the time change is happening again this year no matter what, there are things residents can do to mitigate the damage to their sleep cycles.
Here are five tips the Almanac suggests people try to stave off daylight saving fatigue.
Good bedtime habits
In the days after the time change, stop drinking caffeinated beverages 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Avoid alcohol in the evening. Also, if you exercise, avoid workouts within 4 hours bedtime. Working out raises your body temperature temporarily, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
Get consistent sleep
Get at least 7 hours of sleep on the days before and after the time change. The closer you stick to your normal routine, the faster your body will adjust.
If you really have trouble with the time changes, consider gradually adjusting your sleep and wake times a few days in advance by shifting bedtime 15 to 20 minutes each night. This could help your body slowly adjust.
Keep dinnertime consistent and eat more protein
On the days around the time change, eat at the same time or even a little early. Try to shift your mealtime forward 15 minutes for a few days in a row to help ease the transition.
Also, try not to overeat and if you do feel like having a snack, choose one high in protein instead of carbohydrates.
Take a short nap
If you’re starting to stack up sleepless hours, it could be beneficial to take a short nap during the day instead of continuing without any sleep. Try not to take naps longer than 20 minutes though.
Get more sunlight
Go outside and expose yourself to morning sunlight on Sunday to help regulate your internal clock. Having shorter daylight hours can impact our mood and energy levels, decreasing serotonin.
Try to take some time out of your morning or early afternoon for a walk outside while the sun is out.
By Patrick McCreless The State (Columbia, S.C.) (TNS)