5 Science-Backed Ways to Beat Daylight Saving Time Exhaustion

How to feel more awake and alert, even though you just lost an hour of sleep.



Surprise! You lost an hour of sleep last night. Daylight Saving Time officially began this morning at 2 a.m. today when — POOF! — without pomp or circumstance, an hour of your day simply vanished into thin air.

So it’s no surprise that you’re feeling extra sleepy this Sunday and may continue to feel so for the next day or two as your body adjusts. If you’re looking for a few tricks to help your beat the waves of exhaustion, here’s what science suggests. 

1. Chew gum.

A study which looked at chewing gum’s effect on cognitive function (Isn’t the world grand that there are people to study these things?) found that when subjects chewed gum while performing memory tests, their brains were significantly more alert than when performing the same tests without gum. That’s right: A stick of Wrigley’s can keep your mind cranking.

2. Have coffee — but just one cup, please.

Coffee is a fickle thing: Have just one cup too many, and you can quickly cross the threshold between perky alertness to jittery mess. The good news is, science went ahead and figured out exactly how coffee you should be drinking for the perfect caffeine buzz: one cup with around 80 milligrams of caffeine.

Researchers put a bunch of healthy, non-sleep-deprived people in a driving simulator for two long hours of mind-numbing highway driving before giving them a 15-minute break. During the break, half of the participants got caffeinated coffee and half got decaf (suckers). Then it was back to the simulator for two more hours of driving. Their driving ability was judged based on how much they drifted and whether they maintained constant speed. Surprise! In the second half of the test, the caffeinated drivers performed better. What’s interesting, as Greatist reports, is that “similar studies have found comparable results with much higher quantities of caffeine — even more than twice as much.” Meaning? More is not necessarily better when it comes to a caffeine jolt; stick to one cup, and you’re golden.

3. Skip the booze.

If you’re planning on resetting your body tonight by downing a bottle of post-dinner wine and drifting into a dreamy, boozy slumber, you may be in for a rude awakening — literally. A study found that while evening drinking may help you fall asleep initially, you’re more likely to wake up during the night and probably won’t feel as rested the next day, either.

4. Wear socks when you hit the sack

Yep. Sleeping with your socks on warms the feet (duh) and causes blood vessels to dilate, which signals to the brain that it’s time to drift off. Research shows that the more blood vessels dilate, the faster you fall asleep.

5. Embrace the nap.

When all else fails, take a midday power nap, and don’t you dare feel guilty about it. Getting some afternoon shuteye for 20 or 30 minutes not only wakes up your tired brain and improves memory, mood and focus, naps may also boost your immunity. How’s that for a sweet two-for-one deal?

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