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Sleep 101
Navigating Daylight Savings: 5 tips to fight and win

Every year, on the second Sunday of March, many of us experience the ritual of adjusting our clocks and springing forward an hour. While the prospect of longer evenings may sound appealing, the transition into Daylight Savings Time (DST) brings with it several challenges that can impact our well-being. The key to navigating this change lies in understanding its effects on our bodies and implementing strategies to minimize any negative outcomes.

One of the main issues with the shift to DST is the alteration in our exposure to natural light. In the mornings, we find ourselves waking up in darker conditions, while the evenings are brighter for longer. This mismatch between our circadian rhythm—the internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle over a 24-hour period—and our social and work obligations lead to what experts refer to as "social jet lag". This phenomenon can result in a myriad of health concerns, including increased risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and depression, as highlighted in scientific research.

Sun rises earlier in the morning during Daylight Savings Time and shines through a window overlooking a blue bird on a tree

On top of that, we have the direct consequences of jumping forward by an hour: sleep loss and the resultant sleep debt. The abrupt change in time can cause a significant disruption in our sleep patterns, making it challenging to fall asleep at the right time and get enough rest. This dissonance between our biological clocks and the outside world can leave many feeling out of sync and struggling to adapt.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ease the transition into DST and help mitigate its impacts:

1. Gradual Adjustment: Begin by going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night in the lead-up to the time change. This subtle shift can help ease your body into the new schedule and make the “transition shock” less impactful.

2. Rethink Daily Routines: Adjust other daily routines that serve as "time cues" for your body, such as eating dinner a bit earlier. Modifications of this kind can help signal to your body that it's time to wind down, promoting a smoother adjustment to the new time.

3. Make the Most of Morning Light: After the clocks change, make an effort to expose yourself to bright morning sunlight. This exposure can play a crucial role in resetting your internal clock, improving your alertness and helping regulate your sleep pattern. Especially for those who need to get going before the sun comes up, saving 10 minutes to take in some sunlight before getting to work can do wonders.

4. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Stick to your usual bedtime on Sunday night, ensuring you get ample sleep before the week begins. Consistency is key to reinforcing your body's sleep-wake cycle and reducing the impact of DST.

5. Optimize Your Daytime Routine: Commit to a solid nighttime routine to promote better sleep quality. If you find yourself struggling with focus and alertness during the day, consider taking a short nap (10-20 minutes) to recharge. For those who rely on caffeine, try following your midday coffee with a nap for an extra boost in vigilance without overindulging in caffeine throughout the day.

There’s no way around it, whether you’re 10, 30 or 70 years old, that first Monday morning after switching to Daylight Savings is never a fun one, but it is essential we fight that temptation to just accept the fact that we are gonna be tired for the next few days. By using these little strategies, you can minimize the impact DST has on your body and your brain, and maybe even pick up some healthy habits (perhaps with the help of our "6 Steps Towards a Better You" ) for the rest of the year!




  • Muhammad Adeel Rishi, et al. “Daylight saving time: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement”, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, October 15 2020, URL:
  • “Saving daylight, losing sleep: Insomnia Awareness Day is March 10”, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, March 2014, URL:


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