Tips to cope with daylight saving time changes
The change to daylight saving time happens early Sunday morning, but health officials say it takes some adjustment, and it's best to get a head start.
"You want to try to start going to sleep a little earlier. Voluntarily a few days ahead of time ... maybe go to sleep 15 minutes earlier every night," said Dr. Gary Levinson, a sleep physician with Sharp Health.
Dr. Levinson says at first, your body may not be sleepy, but there are ways to encourage sleep:
- Clear your mind before bedtime. Make a to-do list early in the evening, so you won’t stay awake worrying about the next day.
- Create a healthy sleep environment. Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable, turn down the lights, avoid distracting sounds and keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Relax. Before bed, take a warm bath, read or do another relaxing activity to help you wind down.
- Avoid using electronic devices right before bed. Unless you have the intensity down and blue light filters on, any other relaxing activity — yoga, deep breathing, listening to music — is preferable.
He says the biggest challenge during daylight saving time comes in the mornings.
"Your body is going to want to sleep longer," he said. "So the key to that is trying to get natural light into your room sooner."
His advice is to get up as soon as your alarm goes off and open your blinds for some natural light.
Taking the time to gradually adjust especially helps with kids and even our pets.
"Think about it. You're a dog or a cat. You have a regular schedule. When you eat, when you walk, when you go to bed. And all of a sudden, they pull the rug out from under you and everything is an hour off, and you don't know why," said John Van Zante with Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
He says the time change is just as hard on our pets as it is on us.
Van Zante says the time change can stress pets out.
"They might get grumpy when they show up to an empty food dish at their regular dinner time. We look at the clock and try to take the dog for a walk at the regular time, but to the dog, it’s an hour early," he said. "By the time you get home, the dog is ready to go on another walk because now it’s walk time."
He gave pet owners some tips for dealing with the time change:
- Be patient.
- Try to be understanding.
- Give them lots of reassurance that everything is okay.
- Comfort food.
- Mental enhancement toys.
- Essential oils or sprays to keep your pets (and you) calm.
He said moving up feeding and walking times as we get closer to the time change will also help our animals.
While voters opted to keep daylight saving time year-round in 2018, Congress has yet to make it official.
So until then, the change continues, and it's just another sign that spring is around the corner.