Tips for Better Sleep on Daylight Savings Time

Image.1 - Better Sleep on Daylight Savings Time

Have you ever wondered why at some point in the year, the clocks change, moving forward or backward? Perhaps you even question why clocks have to be this complicated. Well, this is what we call Daylight Savings Time.

For most people, it's a bit stressful. Adjusting your schedule to Daylight Saving Time changes your mood and sleep routine. But you aren’t alone in this time transition.

Daylight Savings Time is a system used to reduce energy consumption by extending daylight hours during the summer months. In the UK, Daylight Savings Time begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. 

Many other countries around the world have Daylight Savings Time, including Canada, the United States, and parts of Europe.

So you’re probably asking now, what are the benefits of having Daylight Savings Time?

Benefits of DST

Image 2: Benefits of DST

One benefit is that it can help to save energy. This is because people are more likely to take advantage of natural daylight during the summer months when there is an extra hour of daylight. This can lead to reduced electricity bills as less artificial lighting is needed. 

Another benefit is that it can help to improve safety. This is because there are more daylight hours during the summer months, which can make it easier for people to see when they are out and about. 

Finally, Daylight Savings Time can also help to boost the economy. Because people are more likely to spend time outdoors during the summer months, it can lead to more money being spent on things like food and drink.

Effect on Sleep

Image 3: Effect of DST on Sleep

However, while we have these benefits, there are also some drawbacks which greatly affect sleep patterns. This can lead to people feeling tired during the day and having difficulty sleeping at night. 

A study conducted in 2008 found that there was an increase in car accidents during Daylight Savings Time. This is because people are more likely to feel tired during the day, which can make it more difficult to concentrate on driving. 

There are also some health concerns associated with it. One concern is that the changes in sleep patterns can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack. Because it disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms, this leads to an increase in stress hormones. 

So, how will you prepare yourself for the adjustments in the days and weeks leading up to this time change? Here are the 9 tips in preparation for DST.

1.  Change your sleep schedule gradually.

Image 4: Adjust the schedule

A few days before the change, start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. On the day of the change, wake up an hour earlier and get some sunlight to help adjust your body’s natural circadian rhythm. 

This change can also be made easier by gradually adjusting wake and sleep schedules beginning two to three days before DST. Individuals should take extra care for at least 7 days after DST transitions when engaging in activities that call for maximum attention.

2.  Nap Moderately.     

Image 5: Moderate napping

Who doesn’t like to take naps, right? At some point in the day, we all do it.

If you find yourself feeling sleepy during the day, napping may be a good option to help you feel more awake and alert. Just make sure not to nap for too long, as this can make you feel more tired. 

20-30 minute naps can help to improve alertness and cognitive function, especially if you are feeling drowsy. A little nap between 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. may lessen drowsiness in the afternoon.

3.  Maintain Healthy Sleep Habits

Image 6: Practice Good Sleep Habits

Sleep hygiene refers to behaviours that may help or hinder sleep. When getting ready for bed, avoid utilizing gadgets with screens, like cell phones, tablets and other technologies. This may be challenging but it’s important. These technologies emit blue light which heavily impacts your circadian rhythm.

Furthermore, a large meal and alcohol consumption both reduce the quality of your sleep. Make sure you eat dinner three hours before going to bed.

4. Spend Time Outdoors

Image 7: Go Outdoors

Going outside is also important. Exposure to sunlight helps to regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm. 

Try exercising or simply taking a walk and enjoying the morning light. Not only does it help you stay healthy, but it can also increase the quantity and quality of your sleep. 

But remember, too little or too much exercise can have the opposite effect and make it harder to sleep. So, make sure to get some sunlight during the day and avoid being in front of screens for too long before going to bed.

5. Create a Sleep Sanctuary

Image 8: Have a sleep sanctuary

Your bedroom should be a haven for sleep. This means keeping it dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using blackout curtains or an eye mask to help keep the light out. 

If you live in a noisy area, try using a white noise machine or earplugs to help block out sound. And lastly, make sure your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature. This means keeping it cool, around 18-22 degrees Celsius.

6. Lessen caffeine intake 

Image 9: Limit caffeine intake

As we grow, we become more reliant on coffee to keep ourselves awake.

However, caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can speed up the nervous system and make it difficult to sleep so avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime. 

This includes coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda, and chocolate. If possible, avoid caffeine entirely or limit yourself to one cup of coffee per day.

7.  Establish a relaxing bedtime routine

Image 10: Practice a relaxing routine

A consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it's time to sleep. This may include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or writing in a journal. 

Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that relaxes you and that you do every night around the same time since it will signal you when it's time for bed.

8.  Avoid working in bed

Image 11:  Don’t work on bed

Some of us prefer working in bed. But did you know that this can “train” your brain to stay awake at night? This makes it harder to fall asleep when you're trying to wind down for the night. 

To avoid this, create a dedicated workspace in another room – where you can work on projects or do other activities that require your attention. This will help keep your bedroom space for a place for relaxation.

9. Practice stress-reduction techniques

Image 12: Try relaxation techniques

Try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga.  You can also try journaling or talking to a friend about what's stressing you out. By managing your stress, you can help improve your sleep.

The Value of Sleep

Image 13: Sleep is Essential

Our brains can consolidate memories and prepare for the next day during sleep. Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night, although some people may need more or less depending on their age, lifestyle, and health. 

A lack of sleep can lead to poor decision-making, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Sleep also plays a role in our physical health. It helps to regulate our metabolism and maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, it helps our bodies fight infection and repair damage to cells, which helps our immune system.

Hence, getting a good night's sleep is essential for our mental and physical health. By following the tips above, you can help make sure you get the sleep you need. 

Daylight Savings Time doesn't have to be a nightmare if you're prepared. Just remember to be patient and give yourself some time to adjust. With a little bit of effort, you can make the transition smoothly and get back to enjoying your days! 

To learn more about Daylight Savings Time and its effect on sleep, check out the links below:   



Somnowell Inventor - Visiting Professor Simon Ash FDS MSc MOrth BDS

Prof. Ash is the inventor of the highly successful SOMNOWELL Chrome device for snoring and sleep apnoea.

The Somnowell Chrome is made to exacting standards in the Somnowell laboratory under the supervision of Visiting Professor Simon Ash. Prof. Ash and his master technicians create each Somnowell Chrome device using their wealth of experience and expertise.

Prof. Ash works at the forefront of his profession. He is a Consultant and Specialist Orthodontist with over 30 years clinical experience, with a special interest in sleep related breathing disorders, TMJD, and bruxism. He currently works in Harley Street London and two private hospitals in London as part of a multi-disciplinary team managing snoring and sleep apnoea, and is Visiting Professor of Orthodontics at the BPP University.