The Importance of Healthy Sleep Habits During Daylight Savings Time

Written by: Tony Schwartz



Time to read 4 min

Daylight Savings Time 2024 occurs on Sunday March 4th, and as the clocks spring forward for part of the nation, many people experience disruptions to their sleep patterns as a result of this change. While gaining or losing an hour might seem trivial to people who are able to easily adapt, the impacts of sleep deprivation can be significant.

In this article, we'll explore the effects of DST on sleep, offer tips for falling asleep , ways of overcoming DST’s negative effects, and discuss how to prioritize sleep during this seasonal change. While we advocate for gradual adjustments across more prolonged periods of time for any changes to your sleep patterns, the reality is that this disruption occurs for many people without much notice. Life’s daily and continuous demands can make it challenging to plan ahead for moments like this, but don’t worry because this guide is meant to help you understand the importance of healthy sleep habits during DST and no previous planning is required to benefit from our suggestions.

Understanding the Impact of Daylight Saving Time on Sleep:

Daylight Saving Time can disrupt our circadian rhythms, the internal processes that regulate our sleep-wake cycle, because of the fluctuations in naturally occurring light. Humans’ circadian rhythms begin each morning with the exposure to light, which initiates a full 24-25 hour long process that impacts our wake-sleep cycles.

The circadian rhythm essentially ensures that we begin our day when our first environmental exposure to light occurs, and that allows us to engage, have conversations, think critically, respond, show emotional intelligence, exert force, and so many other practical functions. So it is very important to consider how Daylight Savings Time disrupts the circadian rhythm to try and mitigate against as many negative effects as possible. Disruptions can lead to poor sleep quality, continuously waking up mid-sleep, feeling groggy in the morning, and some research shows that DST can increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke.

Tips for Overcoming the Negative Effects of Daylight Savings Time on Sleep

If you are affected by Daylight Saving Time then it is important to prepare yourself for the change and limit the effects DST has on your day-to-day life. Since we know that DST can negatively affect sleep and that sleep deprivation can be debilitating, it is important to offer tips and ways to overcome the effects of DST on your sleep. Before we begin, our first step is to start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days prior to the change in time. Most sources we read suggested to begin your change in bedtime by going to bed 15 minutes in the direction of the time change each night until you’ve adjusted to the 60 minute change in time. Getting to the adjusted time before Daylight Saving Time occurs is the goal. However, not everyone is able to plan ahead for the change in time, so the following tips are meant to help guide you towards healthy sleep patterns at any point during DST:

  • Natural Light Exposure : Expose yourself to natural light in the morning to help reset your internal clock. In the evening, avoid bright screens and dim indoor lights to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Follow consistent light exposure, or lack thereof, every day to achieve the best results.

  • Maintain a Consistent Routine Every Day : Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Consistency helps reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle, so keeping a consistent schedule will ensure that your body’s energy levels and processes are supporting you at every point in your day.

  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine : Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, taking a warm bath, deep breathing, or meditation. One of the simplest ways to relax is by inhaling and counting to 3, followed by exhaling and counting to 3, and repeating this step until you might be able to count higher - even up to 15!

  • Prioritize a Healthy and Balanced Diet : Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep. So much of our health and well-being is dictated by what we put into our mouths, so it’s important to keep a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, protein, and healthy fats. And sure, indulge in a little dark chocolate every now and then!

woman sleep in bed

Prioritizing Sleep During Seasonal Changes

As we navigate the challenges of Daylight Saving Time, it's crucial to prioritize sleep for our overall well-being. Lack of sleep can affect our mood, cognitive function, and physical health. By making sleep a priority and implementing strategies to cope with the time change, we can minimize the impact of DST on our lives and maintain a healthy sleep routine. For many, prioritizing sleep involves the use of sleep aids . We always recommend using sleep aids that work in conjunction with your brain and body’s natural systems and receptors, such as CBN oil or other cannabinoid products, as compared to melatonin which mimics a naturally occurring hormone. Better understanding CBN vs melatonin will help understand the differences in how these compounds work with the body to produce their effects.

Of course, preference of sleep aids varies widely and because sleep deprivation is a significant issue affecting millions of people in the United States, people really want what helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. While we recommend cannabinoid products, more research is needed on these products to understand their true medicinal benefits. Always consult with your doctor or physician before deciding which sleep aid would be best for you.

In Conclusion Make Sleep A Top Priority During DST

Daylight Saving Time can disrupt sleep patterns, cause fluctuations in mood, elevate stress, and ultimately have negative effects on us. But with the right strategies, we can minimize DST’s impacts on our overall well-being by maintaining healthy sleep habits and patterns before, during, and after this seasonal change comes. By gradually adjusting our sleep schedule, managing light exposure, maintaining a consistent routine, creating a relaxing bedtime environment, and watching our diet, we can navigate the challenges of Daylight Savings Time. And if you need extra support during this change, consider CBN gummies for sleep made by Slumber.

Tony Schwartz