Spring Forward Got You Feeling Backwards?

3/10/2019 12:00:00 PM Published by Next Level Urgent Care

Day light savings time isn’t so bad when we get to “fall back” and enjoy an extra hour of sleep. However, “spring forward” means we wake up an hour earlier than we were waking up previously, and that can be really harsh for those of us who were already running on fumes.  

When we move our clocks an hour in either direction, not only does the amount of sleep we get change, but also, or circadian rhythm, which is cued by light, becomes out of sync. This is why we have no trouble falling asleep at night on the first day of “spring forward,” but a really difficult waking up the next morning.  

To combat the feeling of grogginess upon waking up, we must work to reset our circadian rhythm to the new schedule.  Light is key here.  When the body is exposed to light, the secretion of melatonin, a sleep-inducing substance, is suppressed.  Therefore, exposing yourself to light during the daytime is encouraged, but at night, light exposure should be reduced so as not to keep you awake.  

Other ways to increase your chances of falling asleep at a reasonable time and staying asleep through the night include reducing caffeine and alcohol, exercising at least a few hours before bedtime (exercising right before bedtime releases endorphins which could keep you awake), and taking a hot bath or engaging in another calming activity right before bed.  

It is also very important to put yourself on a strict sleep schedule for at least the first few days after a time change.  Ensure that you go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time to get your circadian rhythm back on track. 

Lastly, know that the effects of daylight savings time changes are not lasting, and should fade within a few days.