How To Get Great Sleep During Daylight Saving Time
The what, why, and how to survive daylight saving time… (or is it daylight savings time?) Keep reading to find out.
Fall back into bed for an extra hour, spring up early to meet the sun — or hide under the covers. However you greet the news of daylight saving time, the majority of Americans have to shift their schedules an hour as the seasons change into fall, and then into spring.
Some bodies need time to adjust to the new time while others do so with ease. Even if it doesn’t feel too difficult there are still ways to ease into this transition.
What You Should Know About Daylight Savings
Daylight saving time (DST) starts the second Monday of March and ends the first Sunday in November. DST was first implemented as a wartime measure in 1918, when leaders thought encouraging civilians to rise with the sun would conserve fuel for the troops. Farmers overwhelmingly disapproved, saying the change disturbed when they went to market to sell their goods, and successfully repealed the measure. DST was reinstated in 1942, kicking off decades of shifting timeframes as cities and states could at times opt out.
The current DST schedule was introduced under President George Bush and implemented in 2007.
Is it Daylight Saving or Daylight Savings Time?
Don’t worry if you’re confused by this. Many people are. To help set the record straight, we went right to the official U.S. Department of Transportation. The correct way to write it is daylight saving time. No “s”.
Why Do We Still Do Daylight Saving Time?
Here’s the official U.S. Department of Transportation stance:
- It saves energy. During DST, the sun sets one hour later in the evenings, so changing the clocks reduces the need to use electricity for household lighting and appliances. People tend to spend more time outside in the evenings during DST, which also lowers electricity usage. In summer, most people wake after the sun has already risen, so they turn on fewer lights in their homes.
- It prevents traffic injuries. During DST, more people travel to and from school and work, and complete errands, during daylight.
- It reduces crime. During DST, more people conduct their affairs during daylight rather than at night when more crime occurs.
Should Daylight Saving Time Be Permanent?
According to Dr. Eve Van Cauter, professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago and member of the Sleep Number Scientific Advisory Council, permanent DST — meaning, no shifting clocks — would mean most people, including children, would have to get up and be active well before dawn for months of the year.
“Exposure to morning bright light is important to avoid winter depression and therefore permanent DST is likely to increase the prevalence of winter depression and have adverse effects. Therefore, I believe permanent DST is not a good compromise. I am a night owl and enjoy the long summer evenings and favor keeping the two yearly switches.”
Adjusting To Daylight Saving
You don’t have control over losing or gaining an hour during daylight saving time, and the shift can have a deep impact. For example, Sleep Number data reports that sleepers had their earliest wake-ups of the year during the four mornings after the end of DST.
Here are two tips to ease the transition.
- Focus on QUALITY sleep over quantity of sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep, but many of us get well less than seven, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If you’re already in a sleep deficit, losing one more hour digs you further into the trench of sleep deprivation. You might not be able to get the number of hours of sleep you need — life happens — so focus on making sure the sleep you do get is the best QUALITY it can be. People who routinely use the Sleep Number 360® smart bed features and SleepIQ® technology can improve their quality sleep by more than 15 minutes a night — nearly 100 (yes 100) more hours each year — by delivering personal insights into heart rate, breathing and movement, as well as natural sleep and wake cycles.* Studies show that even 15 more minutes of quality sleep per night increases a body’s ability to stave off a cold or weight gain and can increase productivity.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Two weeks before DST, start sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time if you don’t already. One week before DST, gradually start shifting both your bedtime and wake time in 15-minute to 30-minute increments, to make up the deficit of losing that hour. And, don’t stress if you’re reading this and Daylight Saving is only a couple days away. Start tonight. Sleep Number SleepIQ® sleepers planned ahead and went to bed
earlier the night Daylight Saving Time began, and woke up later.***** As a result, they only lost 15 minutes of snooze time
instead of an hour. Bet that felt good!
Additional Tips for Good Sleep
Resetting your internal sleep rhythms is the trickier part. Here are a few more tips to help reset your sleep system and develop good sleep habits — for DST, and also year-round. If you’re looking to hack your sleep and get step-by-step advice, take the free Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number that’s helped 82% of participants improve their sleep quality, and 74% improve or change a bad sleep habit.****
- Avoid stimulants, like caffeine, in the late afternoon and evening. SleepIQ® data confirms sleepers who regularly drink caffeine after noon are less restful and sleep far less than those who never do. Those who regularly drink caffeine in the evening have 19 fewer minutes of restful sleep each night than those who never do.** Do this every day and those 19 minutes of poor sleep per night could add up to almost 115 hours of junk sleep per year!
- Dim the lights an hour before bed. Install dimmers on bedroom lights. Replace blue-tone light bulbs with warm, reddish/orange hue light bulbs. Blackout curtains are great or try an inexpensive sleep mask.
- Prepare for the next day. Pick your outfit for the next day and lay it out the night before. Make lunches ahead of time. Write your to-do list. Pack bags by the door. Set your wake-up alarm. Generally, the more organized you are at night and prepare for the next day, the calmer, more relaxed you are and the better you’ll sleep.
- Adjust your bed for maximum comfort. Have a comfortable mattress and pillow. Your mattress accounts for 75% of your comfort while you sleep. Since you spend 1/3 of your life in bed, you need it to be comfortable to help you tackle whatever it is that gets you up in the morning. If you’re interested in seeing where your body’s pressure points are and how to reduce them for better sleep, visit a Sleep Number® store and ask them to help you find your Sleep Number® setting. More than one-third of SleepIQ® sleepers have a Sleep Number® setting of 35, 40 or 45***. Sleep Professionals will show you a 3D map of your body lying on the bed and show how a smart bed can automatically adjust to you as you sleep for the ultimate in comfort on each side of the bed. If you have a Sleep Number® bed with SleepIQ® technology to track your sleep, revisit your goals and settings in the SleepIQ® app and read this for additional ideas.
Two Manageable Tips for Morning Time
Of course, good sleep isn’t just about bedtime. Your body needs to learn to wake up at the right time as well so you don’t risk feeling groggy or sluggish throughout the day
- Expose your eyes to light. Studies show the human body reacts to darkness by releasing melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. But that’s not what a body needs to wake up. With spring, you might open a curtain to welcome the extra sun as soon as you wake. When fall brings a darker morning hour, stand under the brightest light possible first thing in the morning. Some people use sunlight lamps and light boxes to help them wake up and beat back seasonal depression. The goal is to trick your brain into thinking it’s not dark.
2. Drink a big glass of water. Dehydration can lead to moodiness and fatigue, according to NPR. Doctors recommend drinking anywhere from 9 to 13 cups of water throughout the day, according to the Mayo Clinic — and chugging one of those cups early in the morning helps boost metabolism, trigger adrenaline, and ultimately get you out of bed, notes Business Insider.
Give Yourself a Week
Give yourself a week to adjust. Any health issues you notice because of the time change — sleep disruption, moodiness, poor work performance, cardiovascular problems —should return to normal, says Jennifer Wolkin, a clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in stress reduction and mental health. In the meantime, she encourages patients to take extra care of themselves, particularly in the fall. Regular exercise, talk therapy, and mood lamps can help patients who struggle to adjust to the time change.
Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal well-being and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.
*Based on internal analysis of sleep sessions assessing sleepers who use multiple features of Sleep Number products, including foot warming.
**Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/1/19 to 1/31/19.
***Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/1/18 to 12/31/18.
****Based on Sleep30® Challenge participants November 2018 to March 2019.
*****Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/1/19 to 1/1/20.