Get Ahead of Springing Forward

Spring is right around the corner, but first we must make it over the yearly hurdle of springing forward on the clock. It is never easy to lose that precious hour of sleep, but taking preparatory steps ahead of time can help you adjust more smoothly and reduce the impact.

Studies have shown that the health effects of daylight saving time shifts are very real, and the springtime shift forward can be particularly difficult. The risk of strokes and heart attacks can increase in people with heart disease following the change, and the impact of lost sleep on our already busy schedules can weaken us and reduce productivity.

“The problem with springing forward is that it hits right at the time we are beginning to get more light in the mornings, which is setting our circadian rhythm for earlier activity,” says Dr. Darshak K Pandya, Pulmonary physician at Sleep Center Rome. “This step backwards to dark mornings can throw off the body’s natural progression, which causes the feelings of fatigue and lethargy that many experience.”

To help you change with the times, here are some tips to get yourself into the rhythm of springing forward in the healthiest way possible.

Prepare to Catch Some Zzz's

Dr. Kate Raymond, Family Medicine physician and Acupuncturist in Cartersville suggests the best way to prepare for the change is to start going to bed earlier before the Saturday night time change. “Having a couple of weekend days to adjust can be very helpful in the transition before getting back to weekday routines,” she said.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends gradually moving up the timing of waking and bedtime, meals, exercise, and exposure to light earlier by 15 – 20 minutes each day leading up to springing forward.

Turn Up the Lights in the AM

As the time change takes us backward to darker mornings, sleep studies show that using more artificial light when you wake up can help to keep your body on track with circadian rhythm triggers.

Turn Down the Lights 

The CDC also suggests that we dim the lights and avoid electronic screens on computers, tablets, cell phones and TV for an hour before bedtime to help the body prepare for sleep.

Don’t Drink That

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine during the transition can get your body ready for change. Drinking alcohol can cause difficulty sleeping, and drinking caffeine late in the day can do the same.  

Take It Outside

Take your exercise routine outside early in the day rather than waiting until later. Exercising late in the day can make it harder to go to sleep early. Getting out into the morning daylight helps set your circadian clock more quickly.

Harbin Clinic cares completely for your sweet dreams and good mornings. For more tips on how you can live your healthiest life, contact your healthcare provider and visit harbinclinic.com.