Springing Forward: How to Reset Your Body’s Clock (After the “Daylight Savings Time” Time Change)

Daylight savings time involves either “falling back” (adjusting your clock 1 hour behind) or “springing forward” by advancing it one hour forward. Either way, this change can have an effect on our bodies by making it more difficult to wake up in the mornings or go to sleep at night.

How this change affects you personally will depend on various factors, such as your state of health, diet, sleep habits, and general lifestyle.

The reason our bodies react to this change is that it changes the main time cue (which is light) for setting and then readjusting our natural 24-hour cycle. This is known as the circadian rhythm and our bodies can quickly become out of synch with the previous day-night cycle when this occurs. The good news, however, is that you can help your body to adjust to this rhythm.

Generally speaking, when we lose an hour in the springtime, it is more difficult to adjust to the new time cycle than in the fall when we gain an extra hour.

This scenario is very similar to jet lag. When we fly in a plane in an easterly direction, going to bed earlier may result in problems falling asleep and lying awake in bed for prolonged periods at night. Flying westwards, falling asleep at night can be easier but you may have difficulty waking up in the morning.

So, how long should it take you to adjust to this new time change? Well, as a general rule, it will take roughly one day to adapt for every hour of the time change. This is only a very general rule and can, therefore, vary from person to person.

Remember to always remain hydrated and not eat very large meals at night. Finally, patience is the best remedy when it comes to adjusting to a time change!