Losing one hour of sleep during daylight savings time can disrupt your sleep patterns and negatively impact your sleep quality.
Preparing your body for daylight savings time can help enhance the quantity and quality of your sleep.
Gradually adjusting your sleep schedule, practicing good sleep hygiene, and getting enough natural light can help your body adjust more smoothly during time changes.
As daylight savings time approaches you’ll be thinking about setting your clocks forward and reveling in the joys of longer days and warmer weather. However, as much as we all love the extra sunlight, losing an hour of sleep can make for sluggish mornings and tiring days. Read on to hear how daylight saving affects your body and tips on how to adjust to daylight savings time for improved sleep to help you to enjoy all that spring has to offer.
What is Daylight Savings Time?
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is an annual practice that involves setting clocks forward one hour during the spring and then back one hour as winter begins to approach. For example, most of the United States sets their clocks forward one hour on the second Sunday in March and back on the first Sunday in November.
The concept of DST was originally introduced to reduce energy consumption by making better use of natural light. And while an hour may seem like a small adjustment, it can have a significant impact on your body.
One of the most notable effects of daylight savings time is the disruption of sleep patterns. Setting your clocks forward one hour in the spring results in an hour less of sleep, disrupting your internal clock and leaving you feeling sluggish and groggy. Additionally, losing an hour of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating, trouble with decision-making, and reduced productivity.
The importance of preparing your body for daylight savings time and how to adjust to daylight savings time can help enhance the quantity and quality of your sleep so you can avoid the common daylight savings time pitfalls. The following are helpful tips for daylight savings time:
Prepare a Week in Advance
One of the best things you can do to prepare for daylight savings time is to gradually adjust your sleep schedule. For example, starting a week or two before the time change, you can slowly shift your bedtime and wake-up time by 15 to 30 minutes each day.
Additionally, your other daily activities like meals can also be gradually moved forward to align with your new schedule. This gradual adjustment will help your body acclimate more smoothly and help minimize any disruptions to your body clock and sleep patterns.
If you’re struggling with shifting your bedtime routine, you may consider Melatonin supplementation to support your internal clock. Melatonin, a hormone found naturally in the body, helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles and is also a sleep aid that helps you fall asleep faster and supports restful sleep. †
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep hygiene is a term used to describe a series of healthy sleep habits that can help improve your ability to fall asleep and to stay asleep throughout the night.  Your daily routines like the activities you participate in before bed, what you eat and drink at night, and your bedroom setup can all impact your sleep hygiene.
Improving your sleep hygiene, particularly during daylight savings time can mean the difference between sleeping like a baby and a restless night’s sleep.
Tips for Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
Try the following tips to help improve your sleep hygiene:
Create a consistent sleep schedule
While it may be tempting to stay up late on the weekends and then sleep in, creating a consistent sleep-wake cycle can work wonders for your sleep hygiene. Going to bed at a similar time every night and waking up at a similar time in the morning will train your body to relax at night and be alert as morning arrives.
Trying limiting or avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially at night
Caffeine remains a popular pick-me-up in the mornings but did you know that consuming it too late in the day can wreak havoc on your sleep? Studies have found that caffeine consumption later in the day can reduce the number of hours you sleep and make your sleep feel less satisfying. 
As a sedative, alcohol may help with the onset of sleep, however, research has found that it can lead to disturbed sleep in the second half of the night resulting in next-day fatigue and grogginess. 
Turn off all screens for at least 30 minutes before bed
Believe it or not, the blue light emitted by your electronic devices like your phone, tablet, or computer screen may impact the duration and the quality of your sleep. Blue light can affect your body’s production of Melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycles. Exposure to blue light at night can decrease the production of Melatonin making it more difficult to wind down and fall asleep. 
Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary
Create an ideal sleeping environment by ensuring your bedroom is dark, set at a cool temperature, and free from any noise. You can block out unwanted noise with a white noise machine or earplugs. Additionally, if your room isn’t quite dark enough, you can use a sleep mask to eliminate any light.
Daylight plays an important role in regulating your body’s circadian rhythm which supports your sleep-wake cycle. The primary way in which sunlight affects your circadian rhythm is through the production of Melatonin. When you’re exposed to natural light during the day, Melatonin production is suppressed which helps to keep you awake and alert.
As the day turns into night and the amount of natural light decreases, your body produces more melatonin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. Studies have found that staying active during the day and getting plenty of sunlight may help you go to bed earlier, stay asleep longer, and improve your sleep quality.
Build a Sleep Routine
Building a sleep routine can help you relax, unwind, and prepare your body for a restful night. The following are some tips to help you build a sleep routine that works for you:
Decide on a set bedtime that allows for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
Put all electronics away at least 30 minutes before your set bedtime.
Prepare your bedroom for sleep by making the room as cool, dark, and quiet as possible.
Establish a calming routine before bedtime that signals to your body that it’s time to relax. This could include:
Both your mind and body need time to recover from the highs and lows of daily life. This is where sleep comes into play as a critical component of your overall health and well-being.
Getting enough restful sleep is essential for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. In fact, studies have shown that getting ample sleep has been linked to improved memory and learning, enhanced mood, increased energy, and a reduced risk of developing chronic health conditions. 
Making sleep a priority and getting the recommended amount of rest each night is important, but this should become even more of a priority as you prepare your body for daylight savings time.
By gradually adjusting your sleep schedule, practicing good sleep hygiene, and getting enough natural light you can minimize any negative effects of the time change and help your body adjust more smoothly.
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Emily has over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition. In her writing, she strives to bring lackluster research on health and nutrition topics to life. She loves writing about GI health and women’s issues. Find her at www.southcharlottenutrition.com
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.