Tips to Live By

Daylight Saving Time: Yes, the Change Affects Your Sleep — But Here's How to Easily Adjust

Nov. 1, 2019 - Katie McCallum

Sleep is a very delicate balance. Even just a small change to your routine can have a big impact on your sleep quality and ability to sleep on a schedule.

It's why many of us are so protective of our sleep, or we try to be at least.

Unfortunately, though, there are some sleep routine changes we simply can't avoid, like daylight saving time changes.

"We change our time schedule artificially twice a year. The change in the spring is the more dramatic of the two since, when we spring forward, we lose an hour," says Dr. Philip Pirtle, pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at Houston Methodist. "That loss of an hour may not seem like much, but, frankly, it's very disruptive. People don't rest as well, so they tend to wake earlier, and it's also harder then to sleep at night because the light change comes at a later time."

And, according to Dr. Pirtle, how well we adjust to this abrupt change varies from person to person.

"Most people will adjust within a day or two and some people will take as long as a week, but a few people can take several weeks or even months to adjust to the change," Dr. Pirtle adds.

But he also points out that coordinating a gradual change in your sleep routine can make adjusting to daylight saving time changes much easier.

And since these time changes happen whether we like it or not, Dr. Pirtle has a tip for not letting it ruin your schedule:

  • A week before the time change, adjust your schedule 15 to 20 minutes for both sleeping and waking
  • Then, two or three days before the change, adjust both another 15 to 20 minutes

This way, not as much adjustment has to be made and dealing with the change comes much more easily.

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Categories: Tips to Live By