There’s nothing I love more, (after my family and friends), than a good nights sleep. I love awaking, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready for whatever the day has in store for me. But apart from that, I’m just better at almost everything after I’ve had a good nights rest. That all changes when Daylight Savings Time (DST) rolls around.
As you well know, yesterday was the commencement of daylight savings, where we were forced to change our clock an hour ahead; thus losing an hour of sleep in the process. I’m the kind of person who loathes change. Of course, in order for the world to move further, it must undergo changes. This I’m very well aware of. However, when that change somehow interferes with my sleep routine, I begin to question whether the change was really worth it.
With that being said, I thought I would do a little research to see just how Daylight Savings Time (DST) really effects us all. For starters, we all know that Daylight Savings Time (DST) always falls on a weekend. Some might consider this helpful with the transition but Pete Bils, vice president of sleep innovation and clinical research at Sleep Number, says differently.
Guessing that you probably sleep in during the weekend, Daylight Savings Time (DST) is going to have a major affect on you.
“It’s going to feel as if you’re losing more than two or three hours” explains Bils. “Plus, most Americans are sleep-deprived already,” he says. “Add another hour on top of that, and it puts a lot of people in the danger zone.”
And it gets a lot worse.
There are five stages of sleep, 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes. During DST, you lose Zs from the latter stage because you wake up an hour earlier than you normally would.
Blis also explains that there is more to fear than just loosing an hour of sleep. Apparently, REM sleep impacts nearly every aspect of brain function: creativity, emotional stability, even pain tolerance. When that portion of sleep is interrupted, the effects could range from disorientation, unwilling to focus, melancholy, anger, and fatigue.
So what’s a person to do?
Bill suggests to heading to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal. He also recommends throwing open the blinds and flipping on the brightest lights in your house as soon as you wake up. “Light tells your brain to completely shut off melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy, to reset your clock faster,” he explains.
It would also help to avoid lights (especially from your electronics) an hour before heading to bed. This will engage your brain’s melatonin production. Also, don’t forget to cut yourself off from caffeine around 11 a.m, to ensure there isn’t any overflowing in your body when it’s time for sleep.