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Clocks across Canada will be going forward during the early hours of Mar. 8 for Daylight Saving Time, meaning we all end up with an hour less sleep. Daylight saving is a controversial tradition that, despite having roots as an energy-conservation initiative in the First World War, is still in practice today.
The changing of clocks forward and backward for daylight saving in the spring and fall has been proven to negatively impact our health, particularly when we lose an hour every spring. It’s not all bad news though, since the changing time results in more evening daylight, making the transition to spring feel even closer.
It can be challenging to get back into the swing of things after the clock goes back, so we chatted with sleep consultant Amanda Jewson to get the lowdown on transitioning through Daylight Saving Time gracefully.
These are her expert tips on creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Why does Daylight Saving Time affect our sleep so harshly?
“It feels so inconsequential just one hour, but when we look at the data, being sleep deprived has some pretty significant effects,” says Jewson.
“It increases risks of depression and anxiety. Your ability to complete whole tasks and your ability to concentrate, your mood, your appetite, it’s all affected by how much or how little you’re sleeping. To take away a whole hour is a pretty significant thing.”
Jewson noted that the Monday after the clocks move forward is a particularly noteworthy date when observing the effects of sleep deprivation on our bodies.
“Number one, we see an increase in accidents - people actually just hurting themselves,” she shared. “Visits to the doctor go up, we see an increase in heart attacks on that Monday, and the severity of penalty from judges increases.”
Start prepping early
While “falling back” can be a great way to sneak in an extra hour of sleep, “springing forward” can be a challenging time for many adults.
“If you’d normally go to bed at 10 p.m., that actually feels like 9 p.m. [after the switch] so it’s really hard to tell our bodies to go to bed early,” shared Jewson. “Let’s say you go to bed, you toss and turn and you’re up a little bit later than you’re used to, but then the whole day is shifted forward and you may be one or two hours out of sleep.”
To make this switch easier on our bodies, Jewson recommends shifting your bedtime back in 15-minute increments in the days leading up to the time change. If you have the luxury of setting your own hours, she also suggests ignoring the time change completely and letting your body naturally adjust to the time difference.
Make the most of your bedtime routine
In addition from slowly adjusting the time that you head to bed, Jewson recommends setting a consistent nighttime routine to help promote sleep.
“You want to avoid screens before bed since blue light does affect the amount of melatonin (sleep hormone) you produce at night,” she noted. “Our bodies like to sleep at lower temperatures, so things like taking a bath help [move] yourself in the right direction.”
Relaxing activities like meditation, stretching and yoga can also start the process of readying the body for bed, helping you fall asleep more easily.
If you’re looking for more of Amanda’s top sleep picks, read on for some of her favourite items for a restful sleep.
“There’s tons of apps that you can download that take you through a body scan or a nice little sleep meditation so you can have a better rest or if you’re having trouble falling asleep.”
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“It seems really basic, but investing in really quality sleep products like a good bed, good sheets and comforters, really [does] make a difference.”
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“Whether you’re a side sleeper, a back sleeper, a tummy sleeper - you want a pillow with the right amount of support for your position.”
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“[My husband and I] have an Endy bed actually, and my husband is very picky. He said this is probably the best bed we have ever slept on.”