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How to Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

Kaiser Permanente sleep medicine physician offers tips for minimizing the negative health impacts of daylight saving time

Moonrise over Box Springs Mountain (Dr. Robert Sirotnik).

With daylight saving time arriving on Sunday, March 10, Dr. Kendra Becker, a sleep medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente Southern California in San Bernardino, offers insight for minimizing the negative health impacts of the time change.

“As we lose one hour of sleep, many of us will feel more tired,” says Dr. Becker, “This can have a negative impact on our ability to perform tasks, and research tells us that, although temporary, the time change can also increase your risk of heart attacks and car accidents. Additionally, sleep-deprived children can experience difficulties in school and potentially even have worsened behavior.”

To help cope with the change, Dr. Becker offers the following tips to adjust to the time change more efficiently and minimize potential negative effects.

  1. Gradually adjust your sleep schedule over a few days in advance.
  2. Create a bedtime routine to help your body adjust to the new time.
  3. Get plenty of sunlight, especially in the morning, in the days leading up to the time change.
  4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and late snacks before bed.

These strategies can help your body produce melatonin naturally and earlier in the evening, which is crucial for falling asleep and staying asleep.

“There’s little doubt that losing an hour of sleep will be difficult for many in the beginning, but we can do something about it,” Dr. Becker says. “With the right attitude and taking the necessary steps, we can minimize the impact.”

With planning and discipline, you can make the transition to daylight saving time smoother and less disruptive to your health and sleep patterns.