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5 tips for coping with Daylight Saving Time

Limit the impact of losing an hour of sleep when you spring ahead

Last updated: March 07, 2015 11:15 AM

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The hour of sleep you'll lose Sunday morning, March 8, after your clock springs ahead might do more than just make you cranky. Some research suggests it translates into more car crashes and possibly even heart attacks on Monday morning, thanks to worsened sleep deprivation.

For most people, losing an hour in the spring is harder than adjusting to the extra hour we get in the fall. It's similar to jet lag, in which traveling east, like from California to New York or New York to London, is harder than travel in the opposite direction. And sometimes getting your sleep out of sync for just a day or two can trigger sleep problems that linger for days or even weeks.

But a few simple steps might help smooth the transition, and prevent one night's bad sleep from escalating into longer lasting problem.

1. Don't take a nap on Sunday

For many people, Sunday is nap day, a chance to catch up for a busy work week, and maybe a late night out on Saturday. But for this Sunday at least, try to skip the nap. That way, you'll be more likely to fall asleep early, making it easier to wake up early tomorrow.

2. Exercise

Working out might also help tucker you out, and exercise, especially several hours before bed time, seems to improve sleep.

3. Get outside early

A little sun on your face, especially early in the day,  can help your body's circadian rhythm get back in sync. But try to avoid late afternoon sun. That could have the opposite effect, and keep you up even later.

4. Embrace your new schedule

Try to eat meals at your usual time, and follow other habits according to schedule, too. That will help you adapt to the time switch faster.

5. Be alert

Take a little extra time on Monday morning to get yourself out the door, and pay extra attention on the road. After all, you won't be the only drowsy driver on the road.

For more on improving your quality of sleep, read about the secrets of good sleepers and our Best Buy Drugs advice for sleep problems. And if you're in the market for a new bed, check our latest Ratings of mattresses, retailers, and brands.

Joel Keehn

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