Despite the controversy, one thing is certain DST will be around for a long time. So here are some time-tested tips for dealing with the time change:
• Start early. The time change is usually scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning, in order to reduce the disruption of the workweek. To give yourself more time to adjust before the workweek begins, reset one of your clocks at the start of the weekend, such as Friday night or Saturday morning. Try to eat meals, sleep, and wake according to that clock. When Monday comes, you’ll be on your way to feeling adjusted. However, if you have activities and events during the weekend, make sure you don’t get confused about the correct time!
• Exercise. Working out releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust. Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors, and early in the day. A brisk morning walk is perfect. Avoid exercising too late in the evening, though, as this could interfere with the quality of your sleep. There is a strong connection between exercise and better sleep.
• Nap wisely. Try to resist the urge to take long naps late in the day. If you get tired, take a short, energizing walk around the block instead. If you must nap, keep it earlier in the day and limit your snooze time to no more than 20 minutes.
• Don’t imbibe. Alcohol interferes with normal sleep cycles, so don’t rely on a nightcap to fall asleep. There are certain foods and drinks that help and hurt your sleep.
• Digest. After the time changes, you may be hungry for meals earlier or later than before. Be sure to give yourself ample time to digest your dinner before heading off to bed. A heavy meal in your stomach will interfere with the quality of your sleep, too.
• Lighten up. The right combination of light and dark can help your body’s circadian rhythm readjust so you can fall asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly. In the morning, open the shades and brighten the lights. Try to spend time outside during the day, if possible. Dim the lights in the evening, so that your body understands that it’s time to wind down.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you adjust more easily to the biannual time changes. If you’ve tried all of these suggestions, and you’re still having trouble adjusting to the time change after a few weeks, call your health care provider for more assistance.