Daylight Saving Time: How to prepare for losing an hour of sleep

Andrea Blanford Image
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Tips to survive Daylight Saving Time
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Tips to survive Daylight Saving Time

It's almost time to spring forward and sleep experts are providing practical tips to help you and your family better adjust to losing an hour of sleep.

Dr. Mary Ellen Wells, Director of Neurodiagnostics and the Sleep Science Program for the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Charlotte said that when it comes to losing sleep when Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, that hour counts.

"Just the one hour, you are accumulating 60 minutes of sleep debt and that debt needs to be repaid," she said.

Wells said recharging your internal body clock can be done much easier if you and your family prepare ahead of time.

Here are the four tips Dr. Wells recommends:

  • Beginning a week before Daylight Saving Time, go to bed a few minutes earlier each night to help adjust to the time change.
  • Go ahead and reset your clocks as early as Friday or Saturday.
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol before and after Daylight Saving Time to help your body fall asleep naturally.
  • Get plenty of sunshine.

"Sunshine is one of the most important factors to regulating our body clock," said Dr. Wells. "With sunshine, it tells our body to release the hormone melatonin, which is a signal to our brain that says hey, it's time to go to sleep. And so getting sunshine early in the morning and early in the day, not in the evening, then that's a great way to get your circadian rhythm on track."

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m.