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Time Change: Maximize the End of Daylight Savings

Friday, March 09, 2018 8:14 AM

Daylight Saving Time will beging at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Match 11th this year. That means on Sunday morning we will lose an hour of sleep. Adjusting to the time change can be difficult, as this throws off our internal clocks. For many people this may take several days to acclimate.

Lori Lovitz, MD, Neurology and NorthShore share some tips on how to make this transition as smooth as possible this spring:

  • Prepare for the time change in advance. Write a list of all the clocks you need to change in your house the week before. Change all your clocks before you go to bed so you are waking up at the correct time. Remember, most cellular phones and computers automatically adjust back to “Standard Time” for you.
  • How to Prepare on Saturday. To help your body rest and adjust to the time change, get some midday exercise. Be careful not to exercise too late in the day. Do NOT stay up late since you can’t always count on getting that extra hour of sleep. To ease the transition, you could start waking up 10-15 minutes later each day during the week prior.
  • Sunday morning will help Monday morning. Plan to wake up at your habitual time on Sunday. This will help you adjust on Monday before school or work. Lying in bed for that extra hour will not help your body adjust and it will only work against you on Monday morning.
  • Explore the outdoors. On Sunday morning and early afternoon, try to take a walk outside and finish up chores. Being productive will boost energy levels and make you more alert.
  • Practice good sleeping habits. On Sunday night, make sure to carry out good sleeping habits. Good sleeping habits include avoiding a heavy meal, caffeine and alcohol at night; resisting the urge to nap during the day; unwinding and avoiding screen time at least an hour before bed, and sleeping in a cool, dark room.
  • Safety Checks. Many people traditionally use this day as their 6-month time indicator to change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, test pressure in car tires, or replenish winter emergency supplies.
  • After the switch. It’s ok to take a brief nap on the first couple days of the transition to avoid drowsiness. You could boost up your routine by using extra morning daylight for exercise.

What do you plan to do with your “extra” hour on Sunday?