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How to up your time change game

A silver alarm clock sits on a gray table in front of a blue wall

March 11, 2021—For most of the country, daylight saving time officially begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March.

Of course, those extra sunlit hours in the evening are a welcome change. But the sudden switchover can mess with your sleep-wake cycle for days, leaving you groggy and less alert. Here's how to make the switch a little easier on your body.

Don't wait until Saturday

Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight—and move bedtime another 15 minutes every night until the time change. It can make the transition less jarring, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Then this weekend, try the following tips for making that lost hour of sleep a little easier to bear:

Change your clocks early Saturday evening. Don't wait until you're ready for bed.

Tuck in early enough to get a full night's rest. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Check out this infographic to see sleep recommendations for the whole family.

Catch the morning light. When you wake up Sunday, head outdoors for a few minutes. The bright morning light will help reset your internal clock, making you feel more alert.

Keep your Sunday bedtime. Now's not the time to skimp on slumber. You'll need another solid rest to be fresh on Monday.

Keep a good thing going

The daylight saving switchover isn't the only time when a good night's rest is best. To improve your snooze throughout the year, try these tips, courtesy of the AASM:

Stick to a schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day—even on weekends.

Keep your bedroom distraction-free. When you head off to bed, don't take your laptop, smartphone or work with you.

Start a soothing bedtime ritual. Lower the lights, and try winding down with soft music or a warm bath.

Create a comfy sleep zone. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, cool and comfortable.

Don't stare at the alarm clock. If you can't sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing in another room until you feel sleepy.

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