Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour.
Daylight saving time begins this Sunday, with a common recommendation to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to sleep Saturday night.
Setting clocks ahead means most people will lose one hour of sleep. In exchange, there will be an extra hour of daylight in the evenings.
“That glorious after-work sunshine comes at a price – a horrible groggy feeling on Monday morning,” said Dr. Raghu Upender, medical director of the Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center.
Most people only need a day or two to adjust to the time shift, Dr. Upender says, but some can take as long as a week. Not adjusting properly to the new time schedule can lead to fatigue, which can have negative consequences.
Dr. Upender points to studies that show an increase in heart attacks, traffic accidents, and workplace injuries in the week following the shift to daylight saving time.
“The feeling of fatigue is related to misalignment of our internal circadian rhythms to the external environment,” Dr. Upender said. “We typically shift the sleep schedule on weekends anyway by staying up later and waking up later than our normal time. When we start playing around with our sleep schedule, we’re not allowing our clock to reset at its usual time. On Monday mornings, your internal clock is saying, ‘This is still sleep time. What are you doing waking up so early?’”
Dr. Upender suggests trying to go to bed earlier, maybe 15 to 30 minutes earlier, in the days prior to the time change.
In addition, he offers these recommendations for good sleep year round:
• Establish a relaxing pre-sleep ritual, such as taking a bath, reading or listening to calm music.
• Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature.
• Avoid the bright lights and stimulation of TVs, computers and other electronics before bed.
• Avoid large meals, alcohol and caffeine before bed.
• Exercise earlier in the day, not right before bed.
• Keep the same bedtime and wake time each day, even on weekends.
McMinnville Fire Department officials say the time change is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and ensure they are operational.