NYACK, N.Y. -- Although it means an extra hour of daylight, turning the clock one hour ahead for daylight savings time can cause biological clocks to become out of sync. That's why, according to experts, it's not uncommon to feel out of sorts for several days after the time change.
"When you change your clocks on Sunday night, March 12, and lose an hour of precious sleep, you’re likely to feel the effects of daylight savings time most if you are sleep deprived and don’t have a regular sleep schedule," said Dr. Anita Bhola, director of sleep medicine at Nyack Hospital,
To reduce the chance of feeling groggy the morning after clocks have changed, Bhola suggests the following:
- Take a short nap that Sunday so you feel more rested on Monday morning.
- An earlier bedtime the night before may cause difficulty falling asleep, so start the week before the change - go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier every night.
- Get up as late as you possibly can without being late for work on Monday, to give yourself precious extra minutes of sleep.
- Don’t expose yourself to bright light when it is dark. Turn off electronics at a reasonable time. If you don’t have a night light in your bathroom, install one, so you don’t have to turn on the light in the middle of the night.
- Expose yourself to sunlight Monday morning—sun resets the internal clock forward.
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime, which can interfere with good sleeping habits.
- Watch out for drowsy driving. Research has shown that the days immediately following shifts to daylight savings time have been associated with increased injuries and accidents likely due to sleep loss and morning sleepiness.
"Good sleep habits throughout the year include exercising several hours before bedtime, creating a relaxing ritual—such as taking a warm bath before bedtime, keeping a consistent sleep schedule every day and wearing ear plugs and eye masks if you need to block out sounds and light," said Bhola.