Didn’t this morning feel awful? Even if you went to bed earlier and thought to set an alarm, you will wake in the dark feeling hungover. On March 13, daylight saving time (DST) began. So, even if you officially slept an extra hour between Saturday and Sunday, the Monday after’springing forward’ might still be painful. But should one hour of lost sleep be that inconvenient? We’ll go through a couple of the reasons why your body feels so out of whack during daylight saving time.
When you are taken off guard by daylight savings time, it feels even worse
Be honest: you told yourself you’d go to bed early, but when you got in bed, it was eleven o’clock—and, oops, it’s now midnight. If you’re a parent, you’re aware that sleep schedule alterations necessitate advance planning to avoid disruption. To accommodate DST sleep regressions, some experts recommend that parents modify their bedtime by fifteen minutes every night for the first few nights.
You could have done the same as an adult, but most of us do little to adjust our patterns before DST. In reality, many people are unaware that time changes are taking place until someone reminds them or they arrive late or early to work on Monday.
Even when you prepare, it takes some getting used to
Even if you did plan for the clocks to steal one hour of your life, you may still feel sluggish today. Shelby Harris, PsyD, author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia, previously told Well + Good, “Our biological clocks are so well set that even an hour’s difference in light exposure can create changes in the body, resulting in greater sleepiness in the morning and insomnia at bedtime when daylight savings time changes.”
In a nutshell, you’re a sensitive and exact machine, and your system dislikes change. (However, there is evidence that it will only take around a week to acclimate.)
The sun is more vital than you think—it simply takes some acclimating to
The goal of DST is to optimize the number of working hours spent in the sun, with the premise that your circadian rhythm and mental health are better when your waking hours are sunny.
According to Lauren Hale, PhD, vice chair of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, “light actually notifies your body that it’s time to wake up.” You’ll be fatigued earlier in the evening as a result.” So moving forward should make you feel better… eventually.
Here’s what you can do if you’re having trouble adjusting
You’ll have to get accustomed to it because it’s too late to go back in time and change your bedtime or get one of those seasonal affective disorder wake-up bulbs.
What’s wonderful is that, while this morning was dreadful, there will be more light later tonight, which should improve your mood. Dr. Harris believes that walking outside and getting some fresh air can help right now, when the shift is new.