Daylight Saving 2024: How to Make Losing an Hour of Sleep Feel Less Awful

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Daylight saving time stirs up a lot of mixed feelings: You’ll kiss the dreary winter darkness goodbye (and feel your seasonal depression lifting with the longer days)—but you’ll also lose an hour of precious sleep when the clocks spring forward at 2 a.m. on March 10.

And this can really screw with your system for a bit. As the time shifts, you’re “shifting your natural, biological clock” (a.k.a. your circadian rhythms) with it, Kuljeet K. Gill, MD, a sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine’s Central DuPage Hospital, tells SELF. This can mess with your hormones, alertness, hunger signals, and all sorts of other body functions and behaviors, she says.

“Our brains never fully adjust to daylight saving time,” W. Christopher Winter, MD, neurologist and sleep specialist at Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and host of the Sleep Unplugged podcast, tells SELF. “[It] has been shown to be harder on our bodies and worse for our health than simply staying on standard time all year—which the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has been pushing for.” There’s also been a legislative effort to get rid of daylight saving time via the Sunshine Protection Act, but the bill has been stalled since last year.

To make this all suck a bit less, we asked experts what you should prepare for now to help you adjust to the time change. Here’s how to feel a little less miserable in the week ahead.

Drag yourself out of bed at your usual time.

If your alarm typically goes off at 6 a.m., then get up at 6 a.m., even though you are painfully aware that it still feels like 5 a.m. Why? Getting up around the same hour each morning trains your body to understand that’s when your day starts. If you slip into the habit of waking up at different times, even for a few days, your brain might get a bit frazzled and start releasing melatonin—a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle—at weird times, which can affect both your ability to sleep well at night and stay alert during the day. (It’s not all that different than how jet lag feels, as SELF previously reported.)

“I tend to have people focus more on wake time,” Dr. Winter notes. “If your wake time stays consistent, your bedtime eventually sorts itself out.” Just do your best to log a sufficient amount of sleep as your body adjusts—ideally, at least seven hours a night.

And if you’re tempted to “rest your eyes” in the afternoons, heed this warning from Dr. Gill: “No naps.” Otherwise, you might have trouble drifting off later, which will only keep your sleep schedule messed up for longer.

Bask in some morning light.

Getting a strong dose of sunlight after you get out of bed is one of the best things you can do to stabilize your circadian rhythms, as it “stimulates your brain and shuts off melatonin production,” Dr. Gill explains. “That’s a signal that it’s time to get up,” since melatonin’s job is to make you feel drowsy.


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