March 14 marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time here in the U.S. this year. I love that it stays light longer into the evening, but going back to getting up before the sun rises is hard for me. How does the change affect you? Are you awake yet?
Can Daylight Savings Time Affect Your Health?
Short answer, yes, but not usually for long. Springing forward (or falling back) can mess up your natural circadian rhythms, and for anyone who already has trouble sleeping, this can be bothersome. I give you a seven tips for better sleeping at the end of this article.
Some people say it takes about one day to adjust to an hour of time difference. So after a day or two, you should be back to normal. It usually takes me a little longer. The time change makes me sleepy for a few days. How does the time change affect you? Do you simply have a little more coffee in the morning? Do you sleep a little later?
The Benefits of More Daylight
Some research studies show that the longer daylight hours actually promote better health. We are more likely to go outside, move around and get some exercise. The sunshine increases our natural Vitamin D absorption, which promotes health and sleep.
How can you help yourself adjust more quickly? Get better (and more) sleep!
One Potential Risk of Daylight Savings
On the other hand, there is a 10% greater risk of having a heart attack on the Monday and Tuesday following the time change, according to an article in National Geographic (Nov. 1, 2013).
Is it the stress of oversleeping and rushing to work? Possibly. If you are someone who is greatly affected by the time change, how do you handle it? Can you take Monday and/or Tuesday off work when the time changes? Or can you schedule your working hours so you can sleep a little later?
7 Tips for Better Sleeping
Routine, routine, routine. That’s the best tip I can give you. Train yourself to always go to bed and get up at the same times, no matter when the sunrise occurs. Here are a few more tips:
- Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening.
- Prepare yourself for bed using a routine that involves exercising two or more hours before you wish to go to bed, and disconnecting from electronics at least an hour before you want to go to sleep.
- Take a warm bath before bed.
- Follow a calming ritual, such as deep breathing, gentle stretching, or aromatherapy.
- Darken your room, wear an eye mask and/or ear plugs to shut out light and noise.
- Concentrate on your breathing, shutting out all thoughts as they occur, repeating a mantra if you like. Deep breath in; deep breath out.
- Never turn on a light when you get up in the middle of the night. It will be harder to get back to sleep.
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.
This post was originally published on Recipe Idea Shop March 15, 2021.