We’ve almost made it out of the dark Pacific Northwest winter – daylight saving time brings longer days next week when we switch the clocks forward Sunday, March 9, at 2 a.m. However, this springtime ritual snatches away an hour of sleeping time and can disrupt the internal body clock.
Research has found people get less sleep in the days after turning their clocks forward, which results in more workplace injuries and injuries of greater severity. (Hmm, I think I will avoid use of the paper cutter and stapler on Monday.) Results showed that people slept an average of 40 minutes less on the Sunday night they switched to daylight saving time.
However, you don’t have to fear the office paper shredder if you prepare for the clock change. To help minimize the disruption of sleep when springing forward, consider this advice from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
- Go to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier each night before the time change. This will give your body time to adjust.
- Begin to adjust the timing of other daily routines that are “time cues” for your body (e.g., start eating dinner a little earlier each night).
- On Saturday night, set your clocks ahead one hour in the early evening. Then go to sleep at your normal bedtime.
- Head outdoors for some early morning sunlight on Sunday. The bright light will help set your internal clock, which regulates sleep and alertness.
- Stick to your usual bedtime on Sunday night to get plenty of sleep before the workweek begins on Monday.
If you’re a regular poor sleeper without the help of losing an hour from turning the clock forward, consider speaking with a sleep specialist (and I don’t need to remind you we have some great ones at The Sleep Disorders Center at Virginia Mason). Poor sleep can impact other medical conditions, such as metabolic disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, cardiovascular disease and pain.