On March 10th, we will Spring Forward! Moving our clocks ahead means earlier bed times and wake up times. The mornings are dark and the evenings are light until about 8 PM. Although we eventually adjust, for the first week or so our bodies are confused. Until we are adjusted, it is common to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up at the correct time. All of these things can lead to sleep deprivation and reduction in performance which can increase the risk for mistakes, including vehicle crashes. Waking up late also puts people into a frantic rush which can, in turn, cause reckless driving. Although it is nice to have extra daylight to enjoy our spring and summer evenings, this time change can not only disrupt our sleep patterns, but also pose a hazard to morning commutes.
Various researchers have conducted studies to help determine if daylight saving time (DST) can actually increase car accidents. Years of research has shown that there is a significant increase in accidents on the Monday immediately following the spring shift, mainly due to sleep deprivation.
Surviving The Spring Forward:
Make an effort to be well-rested before the weekend by going to bed earlier several days before the time change.
After the time change, continue going to bed earlier than your usual time until your body is fully adjusted.
Continue waking up at your normal time so that your body adjusts correctly.
Set multiple alarms to avoid waking up late.
Place your alarm away from your nightstand so you are forced to get up to shut it off.
Exercise or be active so that you can sleep better.
Limit your caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine intake before bedtime.
Use natural sleep remedies, such as lavender essential oil, to help you fall asleep faster.
Avoid TV shows or movies and social media before bed as overstimulation can make it harder to fall asleep. Instead, relax with a cup of tea and a book.