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  • ajitak0

Here Comes the Sun! Tips for adjusting to daylight saving time.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts this weekend - when clocks will "spring forward" one hour in most states throughout the US. The practice was introduced to help save energy by mazimizing our use of daylight hours. We are effectively realigning our schedules to complete more evening activities while the sun is still shining. The boost of sunshine and vitamin D may be a welcome relief from the dark winter evenings, but it can pose its own challenges as we disrupt our sleep patterns and daily routines.


How does DST affect our bodies?

As our bodies and minds adjust to the new time schedule, there will be an impact on the quantity and quality of our sleep. Inadequate sleep can negatively impact us in various ways.

  • Mood: Poor sleep can increase irritability, impair emotional stability, and can exacerbate mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

  • Cognitive Function: Our brain relies on having adequate sleep to function optimally. Poor sleep can decrease concentration, memory and decision making.

  • Cardiovascular Health: The disruption to sleep patterns and circadian rhythm may contribute to changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and other cardiovascular parameters.

  • Physical Performance: Insufficient rest can impair muscle strength, endurance, and coordination, making it more challenging to perform physical activities and increasing the risk of accidents. Changes in daylight hours and disruptions to sleep patterns may impact individuals' motivation and ability to engage in physical activity, which is essential for maintaining overall health and fitness.

The key is to be aware of the possible impact of the time change can have on your body and mind.


Here are some tips to smoothly transition into DST

By being mindful of light exposure patterns and implementing strategies to optimize sleep hygiene, we can find ways to navigate the challenges of adjusting to daylight saving time. Here are some ideas.

  1. Make a gradual adjustment. Start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before the time change. Ease into the change by going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier each day leading up to the time change. You can consider shifting other routines that serve as "time cues" for your body, such as eating your meals or exercising a little earlier each day.

  2. Make a head start. Set your clock ahead on Saturday evening rather than waiting for the official 2am shift. Then go to sleep at the normal bedtime and avoid losing that hour of sleep. Stick to your bedtime on Sunday night to get plenty of sleep before the workweek begins on Monday.

  3. Expose yourself to natural light. With the sudden time change, we experience less light in the mornings. Waking up in the dark can be challenging because our brain will think it is nighttime and signal our bodies to continue sleeping. Try to go outside for some early morning sunlight on Sunday.  The sunshine will help set your “body clock,” by supressing the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.

  4. Stay active. Engage in regular physical activity and expend energy effectively during the day - and avoid vigorous physical activity close to bedtime, as this can be stimulating, making it harder to fall asleep.

  5. Limit exposure to light at night. Reduce your exposure to artificial light, especially the blue light emitted by electronic devices, as you wind down for the night. Blackout shades and night-masks may be useful to help lull us to sleep sooner.

  6. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Send cues to your body that it is time to prepare for sleep. An evening routine could include activities such as a warm bath, reading a book or practicing relaxation techniques. Stay away from stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading to bedtime as they can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

It may take a few days for your body to fully adjust to the new time schedule, so be patient with yourself and give yourself time to adapt.


When does Daylight Saving Time end permanently?

Despite the Sunshine Protection Act being unanimously approved by the U.S Senate in 2022, there is no permanent end in sight. The bill was not signed into law by the US House of Representatives.


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