March has begun, the birds are starting to sing, the daffodils are growing, and that means it’s time to Spring Forward!
If you’re not sharing my enthusiasm for Daylight Saving, it’s not surprising. The precious extra hour we gain in Fall is rudely taken away, and the brighter mornings become dark and dreary, literally overnight. We force ourselves to go to bed earlier on Sunday night (lying awake for an hour) and when the alarm goes off Monday morning, we’re more tempted than ever to hit the snooze button.
Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00 AM on March 13th. It helps us conserve household energy and gives us those beautiful, long and bright summer nights. Getting enough sunlight is essential, especially for us Pacific Northwest folks who often miss it for days (or even weeks) at a time in the winter. But our internal clocks are affected more than we realize with this simple time change. It’s a bit like jet lag without getting on a plane, and for some, it can take a day or two to fully adjust.
So how can you avoid the sluggish feeling, get enough sleep, and successfully get yourself and the kids out the door on Monday morning without a hitch?
- Gradually Transition Bed And Nap Times – Put your kids and yourself to bed 15 minutes early beginning several days before the time change. Small adjustments will reduce grogginess, especially if you’re a night owl. Avoid sleeping late the Saturday before Daylight Saving: You’ll find it even harder to get to bed early!
- Cut Back On Caffeine And Other Stimulants – If you’re thinking of consuming extra coffee on Monday morning, think again. It’s a good idea to cut back on caffeine a few days before (and after) Daylight Saving begins. This allows your body to adjust faster, without chemical interference. Same thing with the kids: Limit their intake of caffeine-filled soda pop and sugar.
- Set Your Clocks Forward Early – Our mobile devices conveniently update themselves when the time changes. But manually setting the oven or cuckoo clock ahead before the official time change will have you subconsciously anticipating the change before it happens, giving your body a head start.
- Exercise – It’s great to have a workout routine, and getting moderate exercise willhelp you sleep better. Avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime.
- Unwind Before Bed – Do something relaxing (warm bath, reading, a cup of decaf tea) and limit electronic device use, including watching TV.
- Look Forward To Longer (And Warmer) Days – It might be tough to lose an hour, but remember all the extra daylight you’re gaining! For this reason alone, I love Daylight Saving Time.
Making some of these tips part of your regular routine will help you sleep better year-round. Daylight Saving is also a good time to do some quick safety checks in your home.
- Check and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and any other battery-operated devices
- Discard expired medications
Making small adjustments for several days will help minimize the exhaustion of losing the light in the morning. With morning light suddenly gone during your early commute, and just as many drivers on the road, it’s important to be alert and ready to go!