A couple of weeks ago, clocks sprung ahead one hour with the time change signaling daylight saving time, but medical experts have plenty of advice on how to weather that lost hour of sleep.
“‘Gaining’ an hour in the fall is much easier for our bodies than ‘losing’ an hour in the spring,” according to Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, medical director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Starting a few days before the time change, people can prepare themselves by going to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier each night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
But it can still be hard to adjust to the switch afterward, sleep specialists note.
“In fact, it may take some people up to a week to get used to the new time change,” Rudraraju shares. “Though it may be tempting to stay up an extra hour, one of the best ways to fight the effects of daylight saving time is to go to bed at your usual time.”
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Another sleep expert likened the time change to a slight case of jet lag.
“It’s like flying from Chicago to New York,” says Saul Rothenberg, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. “Good sleepers may not even notice a difference.”
But if you’re sensitive to time changes or sleep disruptions, you could have trouble falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning, at least for the first few days, he adds.
For those folks, Rothenberg offered some tips for countering the effects of the time change: