In theory, “spring forward” sounds like something to embrace. Flipping the clocks forward gives us the feel of longer days as we hurtle toward the warmer months ahead.
That happens this Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m. when we mark Daylight Saving Time.
But all the semi-annual controversy about the need for DST aside, there’s something about being cheated out of an hour of sleep on a weekend that just feels so wrong.
Let’s look at what we know about sleep, and how you can prep your body for the Daylight Saving Time change coming.
How much sleep does an adult really need? About 7 to 8 hours is what you should strive for, according to medical staff at the Spectrum Health Sleep Medicine clinic. A good night’s sleep gives your body and brain a chance to recharge, meaning you can function better when you wake up.
If you get too little sleep, you may find you have trouble focusing, or even start having memory problems. Your body’s immune system has to work harder when you are sleep-deprived, meaning you can be more susceptible to illness – or take longer to recover if you get sick.
So How Do You Prepare for Daylight Saving Time?
To prep our body for the time change, Spectrum’s Sleep Medicine program has a few suggestions targeting four specific areas:
• Make sure your bedroom is dark. Try to block out as much light as possible.
• Make children’s bedrooms a comfortable temperature — not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
• Get children involved in vigorous physical activity during the day, but avoid it directly before bedtime. While in general, active kids sleep better at night, the activity is best done well before bedtime. Try to build down-time into the evenings so kids can wind down before going to bed
• Wind down. Encourage your children to spend an hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading a book.
• Avoid video games or screen time on electronics one hour prior to bedtime.
• Avoid going to sleep with the TV or radio on. Consider a fan or a soothing sounds CD or app.
• Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeinated drinks and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep and eating big and/or spicy meals can cause discomfort or indigestion.
• Keep a regular bedtime. Have your children try to keep weekday and weekend bedtimes within one hour of the other.
• Consider melatonin one hour prior to bedtime to assist with sleep.
• Have patience and persistence to keep kids’ sleep routines on track while springing forward – and soon the whole family will be back in their routine.
- Make sure if you have anything scheduled, maybe a move with Worldwide Moving Systems!, that you adjust for the time change.