Make daylight saving time less painful by avoiding naps

It’s that dreaded time of year — when your alarm rings an hour earlier than normal and getting out of bed is even more of a struggle. CBC spoke with a doctor to get some tips on how to spring ahead with ease.

Spring forward got you down? Dr. Nancy Low has tips on how to go with the flow (of time)

For every hour of time change you should expect one to three days for adjustment, according to Dr. Nancy Low, the clinical director of the Mental Health Service at McGill University. (CBC)

It's that dreaded time of year — when your alarm goes off an hour earlier and getting out of bed is even more of a struggle than usual.

Daylight saving time kicks in at 2 a.m. on Sunday for most Canadians, and the spring forward changeover means a lot of people will be groggier than normal come Monday morning.

CBC's Daybreak spoke with Dr. Nancy Low, clinical director of the Mental Health Service at McGill University, to get some tips on easing the transition.

Low, who also works at the McGill University Health Centre Mood Disorders Clinic, said springing ahead affects everyone differently, depending on their internal rhythms.

"Some people's clocks are much more firmly set, and some people are more flexible," she said.

Here are a few tips from CBC Daybreak's conversation with Dr. Nancy Low.

The best way to deal with the time change? Accept that you'll be groggier than normal for a few days, and try to go to bed earlier. (iStock)

1. How big of a difference does one hour make?

Not that big of a difference, but it depends on each individual. Generally speaking, for every hour of change you should expect one to three days of adjustment.

2. What can you do to offset the effects of the change?

If you want to be proactive, you can start living on the new schedule, four or five days before spring forward. The idea is to gradually start getting up earlier in the morning and winding down earlier in the evening.

3. How can you reduce the effects if you don't prepare ahead of time?

In order to recover as quickly as possible, don't nap. That actually makes it worse in the long run. Instead, jump start your day with physical activity or a mug of coffee.

4. Is there such a thing as stressing out too much about the lost hour?

Yes. The best thing to do is just go with the flow and understand that you'll have one or two days of being groggy when you get up. The key is to avoid napping and allow yourself to fall asleep earlier naturally.

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