Daylight savings time.
Turns out that promised extra hour of sleep is a lie; researchers say we’re likely to lose out on sleep when daylight savings time starts.
When it comes to the end of daylight savings time, trying to remember how to reset the time on the microwave might be the least of our worries. According to a 2012 review in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, a one-hour shift in your sleep cycle can affect you for up to a week. People are more likely to have trouble falling asleep, wake up more frequently throughout the night and wake up earlier than normal for up to seven days after daylight savings time starts. All of which is to say, some people will likely lose more sleep than they gain this week. But that doesn’t have to be you! Here’s how to battle the effects of DST.
1. Dim the lights and your device
Light can inhibit the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that is associated with sleep onset. When we stare at the screen of a phone or television, or even read next to too bright a light, we essentially confuse our body into staying awake. Try dimming the lights and turning off your device at least thirty minutes before bed.
2. Turn down the thermostat
When we sleep, our body temperature drops, reaching our lowest level at around 5 a.m. If the air in our bedroom is too warm, that can interfere with our natural sleep cycle. The National Sleep Foundation says the ideal sleeping temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius. Experiment with what temperature range is best for you.
3. Exercise often and eat early
According to researchers, there’s no bad time to exercise when it comes to improving your sleep. As long as you fit in physical exercise and, most importantly, stay consistent with it, you are less likely to have sleep problems. On the flip side, there is a good and a bad time for food. Eating too late in the day is a prime cause of restlessness. Additionally, it’s best to avoid spicy foods and caffeine before bedtime.