Three words that are sure to send shivers down your spine this upcoming March: daylight savings time. The notorious time of year can be so negative for people that the entire state of Arizona decided to remove it. But if you live outside of that state, you have to adjust your body to it to avoid being thrown off your sleep schedule.

The culprit for this is how our sleep is regulated by the circadian biological clock. This system regulates our feelings of sleepiness or wakefulness throughout the day. Often the variations of the times people are most awake or asleep determine whether they are a “morning” or “night” person.

Exposure to light activates cells in the hypothalamus that respond to signals in the brain. These signals communicate with parts of the body that regulate hormones and body temperature, which play a role in whether we feel alert or tired.

Some helpful tips to beat feeling tired during the daylight savings time switch include:

  1. Wake up fifteen to thirty minutes earlier leading up to the daylight savings switch.
  2. Get regular exercise during the day.
  3. Reset your clock the day before so you go to sleep earlier and have more time to rest.
  4. Take a midafternoon nap the day of to stay rested.
  5. Stay inside during the last hour of light the day before to start helping reset the circadian biological clock.

“A good rule of thumb is to follow the sun. Limit your exposure to light the night before, and expose yourself to light first thing in the morning of daylight savings time,” says Imtiaz Ahmad, M.D., Board Certified Sleep Physician and founder of Allergy, Sleep &  Lung Care. “That combined with a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, healthy diet and avoidance of stimulants at night will help you get to sleep faster and better.”

For more information, call (239) 437-6670.