Daylight Saving Time Ends on Sunday and It’s Going to Ruin Your Sleep

Right as Rain Fact Checked
a young smiling woman stretching in bed
© Milles Studio / Stocksy United

Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, giving us an earlier sunrise and darker evening as the sun sets earlier. But what does that mean for you and your sleep schedule?

Think of turning back the clock an hour like taking a trip, says Vishesh Kapur, M.D., M.P.H., founder of the Sleep Medicine Center at Harborview.

“You’re basically changing time zones,” he says.

Like a vacation, minus the fun

You can think of the end of daylight time like a trip to Alaska — but without the bears. Even an extra hour on the clock will feel like you’ve traveled to another time zone, says Kapur.

“Being in a different time zone than your biological clock is bad for you,” he says. “It takes time to adjust, but it may also hurt your body in just how alert you feel.” 

Your body works on a 24-hour cycle called the circadian rhythm, which determines your sleep and wake schedule. Daylight is the primary regulator of your sleep-wake schedule, which is why your body can feel so out of sync when it’s as dark at 5 p.m. as it was at 6 p.m. last week. 

You can expect at least a two- or three-day adjustment period before your body gets used to having a new bedtime and wake-up time, says Kapur.

“Your internal clock has to start to match the new times and though you can adjust that clock as much as an hour over a 24-hour period, usually it takes longer than that,” he says.

How to win at turning back the clock

To help your body’s clock adjust to an extra hour, try going to bed at the same time you normally would Saturday night, instead of giving yourself permission to stay out later since your clock will change overnight, suggests Kapur. If you typically wake up at 8 a.m., you’ll end up waking up around 7 a.m., since your internal clock hasn’t had a chance to adjust to the time change. 

This way, you’ll get the same amount of sleep as you normally would — so you can minimize the time change jetlag you’re feeling Monday morning.