Daylight saving time doesn't have to be miserable. Here's how you can avoid a sleep disaster, according to doctors.
Melatonin and magnesium supplements might promote sleep, but they aren't the best solution during daylight saving.
Instead, sleep scientists recommend getting to bed early and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.
If you must take a supplement, opt for melatonin over magnesium.
Daylight saving is around the corner, which might disrupt your sleep — and for more and more Americans, that means turning to a supplement for a little extra help.
The number of Americans reporting taking over-the-counter melatonin doubled over the last decade, and TIME reported that magnesium supplements, popularized by TikTok, are the recent sleep craze.
Yet neither melatonin nor magnesium supplements are necessary to get your sleep in order during daylight saving, Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a board-certified sleep and internal medicine doctor and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and Dr. Joshua Barzilai, medical director of sleep medicine at Indiana University Health, told Insider.
In general, both doctors said getting to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier in the days leading up to daylight saving is a better option than reaching for the pill bottle, as lifestyle changes are a safer — and cheaper — solution to irregular sleep.
"Taking supplements beyond the recommended daily allowance hasn't shown to be beneficial in other ways, and I always say that, because times are tough and money is hard to come by," Dasgupta said.
Daylight saving can seriously mess with your sleep.
Daylight saving, which falls on March 12 in 2023, sets clocks forward by one hour.
Though sleeping an hour less might not sound harmful, setting clocks forward can mess with our sleep enough to disrupt mood and concentration, Insider previously reported. In fact, studies show accidents, strokes, and heart attacks spike after the switch, which is why Dasgupta and AASM are lobbying to get rid of daylight saving for good.
"Everyone needs to be very careful as we go into this transition," Dasgupta said. "I think preparation is the best thing to do when we talk about going into daylight saving."
Both sleep doctors said getting to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier in the days leading up to daylight saving is the best way to minimize sleep disruption. Cutting back on drinking and caffeine and getting enough exercise can also ease the transition, Dasgupta said.
If you have kids, Dasgupta said to encourage extra play outdoors to "tire them out" by bedtime.
Though lifestyle changes are enough to get you through daylight saving, melatonin can help, too.
If you're still itching for a supplement to get through daylight saving, opt for melatonin, which promotes sleep by regulating your body's circadian rhythm, or its daily sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the brain that builds up throughout the day, and peaks just prior to getting sleep, Barzilai said. Melatonin comes from a region in your brain called the penal gland, which produces melatonin during the day and then releases it at night, helping put you to sleep, Barzilai said.
Since the hormone can help set our internal clocks, Barzilai said taking melatonin supplements 30 minutes before bedtime can initiate sleep.
But you don't need to overdo it on the melatonin pills. Melatonin supplements are relatively harmless in adults (their primary side effect being grogginess), but they aren't effective after 10 milligrams, Barzilai said, and Dasgupta said his maximum dose is 3 milligrams.
Magnesium promotes good sleep if you get enough of it on a regular basis, rather than from one-off supplements.
Magnesium helps with muscle relaxation by blocking the calcium in your body from contracting your muscles, Dasgupta said, allowing for a more calm state for sleep. He added some small studies show magnesium decreases feelings of anxiety, another way the nutrient can calm you down at nighttime.
Dasgupta said Americans should prioritize getting magnesium from their food, not supplements, because many contain more than the recommended daily value. The human body can't process excess magnesium, he said, so taking a bunch of magnesium pills won't help you sleep better.
Overdoing it on magnesium may also cause health problems. A common side effect of too much magnesium is diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, Dasgupta said, and too many can even cause toxicity, which can lead to low blood pressure, lethargy, depression, and confusion, as Insider previously reported.
Both doctors also said to disclose which supplements you are taking to your doctor, as both melatonin and magnesium can interact with prescription medications, making the drugs less effective.
Read the original article on Insider