When we spring forward to daylight saving time, we lose an hour of sleep. Most of us feel the effect for a few days afterward.
1. Gradually Transition Into the Time Change
To minimize the impact of the switch to daylight saving time, make gradual adjustments. Go to bed and put your children to bed 15 minutes early, starting several days before the change. Make an extra effort to be well-rested the week before the time change.
2. Give Yourself a Sleep Break After the Time Change
If you feel sleepy after the change to daylight saving time, take a short nap in the afternoon -- not too close to bedtime. Avoid sleeping in an hour longer in the mornings. Your internal clock will adjust on its own in several days.
3. Know How Much Sleep You Need
Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep to be well-rested, and sleep requirements can change with age. To find your ideal number of hours, sleep without an alarm on weekends and see when you wake up naturally.
4. Keep Regular Sleep Hours
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. If possible, wake up at the same time on the weekends, too, which makes Monday mornings easier to bear. You can also see how a nap affects your sleep quality. For some, napping can make nighttime sleeping harder; but for others, a short nap (20 minutes) can be revitalizing, without ruining their night's sleep.
5. Get Some Exercise During the Day
Even moderate exercise, such as walking, can help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week or more. If you often don't sleep well, try not to exercise too close to bedtime.
6. Avoid Stimulating Substances
Alcohol and caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers) can interfere with sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid alcohol and caffeine for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Smokers should also avoid tobacco, another stimulant, too close to bedtime.