How Daylight Savings Time Affects Sleep

Written by: Chris Abraham



Time to read 2 min

Twice a year, the majority of the world adjusts their clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST), either springing forward or falling back an hour. While this shift may seem minor, it can have a profound effect on our body's internal clock and sleep patterns. Let’s explore how DST influences our sleep and ways to mitigate its impact. 

"Time waits for none, but with understanding and adaptation, we can navigate its shifts to our advantage."

Girl waking up

The Science of Sleep and DST

Our bodies operate on an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is primarily influenced by the natural light-dark cycle, dictating when we feel awake and when we feel sleepy. Any sudden change to this cycle can disrupt our circadian rhythm, leading to a host of sleep-related issues.

The Impact of

The Impact of 'Springing Forward'

  • Loss of Sleep: The most immediate effect of the springtime change is the loss of an hour of sleep. This might not seem like much, but even a 60-minute change can make a difference in how rested you feel.

  • Disturbed Sleep Cycle: Because the time shift disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm, you might find it harder to fall asleep and wake up at your usual times.

  • Mood and Productivity Changes: A lack of sleep can affect mood, leading to irritability or feelings of unhappiness. It can also reduce productivity and concentration during the day.


Our internal body clock, the circadian rhythm, aligns closely with nature's cycles. While modern interventions like DST can temporarily jolt this rhythm, our bodies are remarkably adaptable. By tuning into our natural cues and making small, conscious adjustments, we can sail smoothly through these changes and maintain optimal well-being.


Man waking up
Man holding clock and coffee

The Impact of 'Falling Back'

  • Extra Hour of Sleep: In theory, gaining an extra hour in the fall sounds great. However, this change can still disrupt our internal clocks. Many people find themselves waking up earlier than they need to.

  • Evening Fatigue: With darkness setting in earlier, you might feel tired earlier in the evening. This can disrupt evening routines or social engagements.

  • Appetite Changes: Some people experience changes in appetite or meal timings due to the shift in natural light.
Man waking up tired

Tips to Navigate Daylight Saving Time

  • Gradual Adjustment: A few days before the time change, try going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier or later (depending on the season). This small shift can make the one-hour transition less jarring.

  • Limit Screen Time: The blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with melatonin production, a hormone essential for sleep. Try winding down with a book or calming music instead.

  • Stay Active: Engaging in physical activity can help regulate your sleep cycle. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, but try to finish any vigorous activities a few hours before bedtime.

  • Optimize Your Sleep Environment: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. This means a comfortable mattress, dark curtains, and a quiet environment.

  • Stay Consistent: Even during DST changes, try to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, can reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle.


Women drinking coffee


While Daylight Savings Time can throw a wrench in our sleep routines, understanding its effects and implementing strategies to adapt can minimize disruptions. Prioritizing sleep and maintaining a consistent routine can help you navigate these biannual shifts with ease.