HEALTH

Tips for surviving the Daylight Saving Time change

Mar 13, 2023, 12:44 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2023, 12:53 pm

For folks who are adjusting their clocks, the body isn't going to like getting up an hour earlier, ...

FILE: Visitors enjoy the sunset at the Great Salt Lake near Saltair in Magna on Sunday, July 19, 2020. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret NewS)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret NewS)

 (CNN) — Are you ready to move your clocks forward by an hour? That’s right — for most people in the United States, it’s time to “spring forward” into Daylight Saving Time.

“For whatever reason, Daylight Saving Time always just creeps up on us,” said pediatrician Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of adolescent medicine in University of Washington’s department of pediatrics in Seattle.

Residents of Hawaii, most of Arizona and the US territories in the Pacific and Caribbean don’t follow the time change.

For folks who are adjusting their clocks, the body isn’t going to like getting up an hour earlier, so it’s best to start adapting by going to bed and waking up 15 to 20 minutes earlier each day for four or more days before the change, experts say.

“Planning for the change can be key to lessening the impact of this change on your body’s circadian rhythms,” said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

Adjust the timing of other daily routines that are time cues for your body as well such as meals, exercise and medications, he added.

Prepping in advance is an especially good plan for teenagers, who are naturally programmed to stay up late and sleep late, and for anyone else in the family who is a night owl, said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Didn’t do that? Don’t despair. “It’s never too late to start,” Dasgupta said. “Sleep is very individualized, and every child will respond differently to the time change. Make sure you as the parent are getting the rest you need as well, so you’re not overly irritable with your child.”

Moving bed and wake times

Younger children tend to adapt a bit better to time changes than older children and adults, Breuner said, so they may need fewer days to adapt.

Zee, who is also a professor of neurology at Feinberg, agreed: “For most younger children, moving their bedtime and wake time by about 10 to 15 minutes earlier starting three days before the time change can help them adjust to the social clock time change by Monday morning,” she said.

If that didn’t happen, expect some grumpiness until your child’s body adjusts, and be prepared to cut them some slack, Dasgupta said.

“In the days following Daylight Saving Time, I try to be more forgiving if my child is having an extra temper tantrum,” he said.

There are other ways parents and caregivers can ease the transition, Breuner said. Lay clothes out and pack up homework before bedtime to reduce the stress in the morning. It’s also a good idea to pack a to-go breakfast in case everyone is running late.

“That way they’re snacking on the bus or in the car versus trying to sit down for a full-on breakfast when everybody’s kind of ‘Whoa, it’s an hour later,’ ” she said.

And “do not let kids nap,” she added. “That just lengthens any adjustment to the time change.”

Let there be light

For everyone in the family, the emerging lightness in the morning is a good thing, experts say. When light enters your eyes, it’s a signal to the brain to shut down melatonin, the hormone the body makes to put you to sleep.

“Get morning-bright light for 20 to 30 minutes soon after waking up,” Zee said. “Increase bright light exposure at home, school and work for the rest of the morning.”

This strategy is particularly important for teenagers and night owls, Zee said, and they should do this before and continue after Daylight Saving Time starts to help with adaptation to the new time.

Breuner advocates for making a “real hard rule” about keeping television, smartphones, laptops, gaming devices or any other electronic device out of the bedroom.

“Devices should be off and charging away from the bed, whether it’s in the kitchen or another room besides the bedroom,” she said.

“We don’t secrete melatonin to help us sleep when we’re staring at light,” Breuner said.

When it comes to teens, don’t fall for the “I need my phone for an alarm in the morning, and it helps me go to sleep at night,” she said. “Get up and get your iPod and listen to some music and get a regular alarm clock.”

If a child is struggling with depression or anxiety, not getting enough restful sleep can have serious consequences. “The likelihood of the child having worse behavioral health outcomes is higher,” she said.

Let there be dark

The same rule about light applies to the evening, but in reverse, Zee said. She suggests avoiding bright light for at least three hours before bedtime: “This will allow your own melatonin to rise and promote sleep.”

Make sure your bedroom promotes sleep as well, Zee added, by minimizing light exposure from the outside with light-blocking shades or curtains. Keep lights in the bedroom dim and choose LED lights that have more reddish or brownish tones.

Ban any lights in the blue spectrum from the bedroom, such as those emitted by electronic devices like televisions, smartphones, tablets and laptops. Blue light is the most stimulating type of light, which tells the brain that it’s time to wake up.

Once you go to bed, keep the room cool and dark — light can creep in even when your eyelids are shut.

That’s what happened in a 2022 study conducted by Zee that put healthy young adults in their 20s into a sleep lab. Sleeping for only one night with a dim light, such as a TV set with the sound off, raised blood sugar levels and heart rate, even when eyes were closed during sleep.

Another study by Zee found exposure to any amount of light during sleep was associated with diabetes, obesity and hypertension in older men and women.

Related reading

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

The New Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, Miller Family Campus, in Lehi is dedicated at ...

Heather Peterson

One third of Utah hospitals not in compliance with hospital price transparency law

Hospitals have been required to post a list of the prices they charge for services since January 1, 2021.

10 hours ago

code blue alert issued for multiple northern Utah counties...

Becky Bruce

Code Blue Alert issued for multiple northern Utah counties

Salt Lake County declared a Code Blue Alert on Sunday night and multiple Utah counties expected similar conditions Monday.

20 hours ago

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

The hidden dangers of too much sugar

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Health Educator Troy Duell to learn about the hidden dangers of sugar.

2 days ago

Chief of Police for Price City Police Department, Brandon Sicilie, holding PeeDee....

Britt Johnson

Abandoned puppy finds a home at the Price Police Department

PeeDee, a puppy found on the side of a roadway during a dispatch call, has found a new home with the Price City Police Department.

4 days ago

cdc sign shown, the agency updated its covid guidelines...

Brenda Goodman, CNN

CDC drops 5-day isolation guidance for COVID-19

The CDC says it’s updating its guidance for Covid-19 to bring it in line with its advice for other kinds of respiratory infections, including influenza and RSV.

4 days ago

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Tips for surviving the Daylight Saving Time change