Sleep Health

Survive the switch to daylight savings with these 10 expert tips

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For most of us daylight savings heralds that spring is in full swing and warm summer nights are just around the corner, but as the clocks spring forward, losing an hour’s sleep can play havoc with your sleep patterns. Luckily, there are ways to keep the change in daylight hours from throwing off your sleep routine.

Sleep health expert Dr Carmel Harrington says “Sleep is critical to our physical and mental health. It’s fundamental to our ability to think and learn and is a key component to optimal performance”.

When you wake up each morning refreshed and relaxed, it seems your whole day is already off to a great start. You feel energised and ready to take on the world.

However, the stark reality is that one in four Australians are already not getting enough sleep and almost half of Aussie adults (47 percent) have trouble sleeping three or more nights of the week.1

"Losing an hours sleep for the first few nights – until your body clock adjusts – may leave you feeling tired, confused, grumpy and even a bit clumsy" Dr Carmel Harrington 

So, if you’re already somewhat sleep-deprived, giving up just one hour of shuteye can leave you feeling grumpy and irritable. It may also have a negative impact on how you function during the day, perhaps even affecting your alertness and reaction time while driving.2

While most of us will adjust to daylight savings by mid-week, some unlucky ones will end up struggling with the change for a little longer.

How do you make the transition to Daylight Savings easier?

It seems like a small thing, but moving your entire day forward by an hour can really throw off your sleep cycle. Suddenly, there is less light in the morning (when you need to wake up) and more light at night (when you should be preparing for sleep).

Dr Harrington says the key is to start adjusting a few days out. “Adjusting your body clock gradually will help you to sleep better during the first few days of daylight saving. Try going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier in the days leading up to the time the clocks go forward. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier on Friday and Saturday mornings in preparation for the early start on Sunday and make the bedroom as bright as possible when you first wake up in the morning,” she advises.

Time changes are also a good time to evaluate your bedroom. Make sure it is dark, quiet and cool at night so you have the best setting for sleep. Creating a relaxing bedtime ritual like taking a bath, reading a book or listening to music may also help you sleep better3.

Here are Dr Harrington’s tips for adjusting to daylight savings time:

  • Start going to bed 15-20 minutes earlier for 3 to 4 days before putting the clocks forward
  • Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier on Friday and Saturday mornings in preparation for the early start on Sunday
  • Make the bedroom as bright as possible when you first wake up in the morning
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Go outside in the sunlight in the early mornings
  • Try to get between seven to nine hours sleep each night
  • Exercise daily but not within 3 hours of sleep time
  • Don’t drink coffee, tea or other caffeine drinks after midday, avoid smoking just before bed or during the night
  • Don’t go to bed hungry but don’t eat a large meal within 3 hours of bedtime
  • Wind down.Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so in the hour before bed, switch off technology, dim the lights, have a warm to hot shower and do a calming activity such as reading

The good news is it’s easy to get your internal clock back in sync by using the above tips and practising good sleep hygiene, and once you do, you can enjoy all that extra sunshine that this spring and summer has to offer!

Learn more ways to help improve your sleep. Download your free copy of this eBook "8 Ways to sleep better tonight”.

Still having trouble sleeping? If you simply can’t bear to turn off your technology before climbing into bed then a pair of blue light blocking glasses may help or perhaps try Dodow if you’re looking for help to fall asleep faster.

 

Ready to take control of your sleep?

Simply download the Sleep Score App and follow instructions. It will give you a score based on your responses and provide you with a way to track your patterns to improve your sleep.

 

Show me how

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ResMed

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Citations

1

The ResMed Sleep Health Survey. Conducted by Atomik Research among 2,005 adults aged 18+ from Australia. 6 September 2019.

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