On the first Saturday night in October, Australians (except for those in QLD, NT and WA) will move their clocks forward and sacrifice one hour of sleep for the benefit of enjoying more daylight towards the end of the day. The downside is, of course, that we need to adjust to a new sleeping pattern – as well as battle the potential health effects associated with losing an hour’s sleep. It seems like a small thing but moving your entire day forward by an hour can really throw off your sleep cycle.
The drawbacks include increased sleep debt, lost productivity, and a rise in traffic accidents due to drowsy driving during the first few days after the spring time change. Research has also shown that losing an hour of sleep may cause you to eat roughly 200 more calories the next day, exercise endurance may also falter after a night of inadequate sleep, and work or school performance can suffer.
How do you adjust for the start of daylight savings time? Here’s a few simple steps can get you back on track quickly.
Make sure you’re caught up on sleep. If you’re already sleep-deprived when Daylight Saving Time comes, it’s going to hit you harder than if you’ve been regularly getting seven to nine hours a night. So, in the week leading up to the time change, pay special attention to clocking the right amount of shut eye.
Try going to bed and rising 15 minutes earlier than you normally would. Then, continue to shave off an additional 15 minutes each night leading up to the time change. That way, by the time Daylight Saving Time rolls around, you’ll have acclimated to the adjusted time.
Go to sleep and wake at the same time every day and avoid spending more time in bed than needed.
Use bright light to help manage your “body clock.” Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
Use your bedroom only for sleep to strengthen the association between your bed and sleep. It may help to remove work materials, computers and televisions from your bedroom.
Select a relaxing bedtime ritual, like a warm bath or listening to calming music.
Create a sleep environment that is quiet, dark and cool with a comfortable mattress and pillows.