Can moving the clock ahead one hour really make a big difference? Although you may think differently, Daylight Saving Time can have impacts on your sleep and overall health. Below is some important information to know to be best prepared for changing the clocks!
For most individuals, adjusting to the fall time change is easier than spring. As CBS News reports, losing an hour of sleep may do more than just cause tiredness. Sleep disruptions can affect your overall mood and productivity. You may find yourself struggling to fall asleep earlier and you may notice being more irritable as a result. Changes in sleep schedules may also affect memory, performance and concentration levels. Studies have shown an increase in workplace injuries, as sleep deprivation around daylight savings time transitions can affect motor skills. According to research, there may be an association between circadian rhythms and vascular events causing heart trouble for some individuals. Losing sleep can also affect the hormone levels in the body, causing changes in appetite and potential overeating (CBS News, 2018).
Although we may not be able to fully compensate for the sudden time change, scientists offer helpful tips for adapting as quickly as possible. Use light to your advantage: exposure to light or darkness generally causes our bodies to produce hormones that tell us when we should be asleep or awake. In preparation for Daylight Saving Time, try going to bed and waking up earlier in the days leading up to the time change. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon hours and try not to take naps. If you are feeling tired, do not drive or operate heavy machinery at work or home. Be sure you are well rested prior to completing any potentially dangerous activities (CBS News, 2018).
As physicians importantly point out, we as a society are sleep-deprived. Daylight Saving Time and the “spring forward” movement cause us to lose an additional hour of sleep which impacts our overall well-being (The Harvard Gazette, 2018). Get enough sleep and begin taking preparation steps now to gradually adjust to the time change. After all, you will better be able to enjoy the extra hour of daylight if you are well rested!
CBS News. (2018). 5 ways daylight saving time messes with your health and what to do about it. Retrieved March 9, 2018, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/daylight-saving-time-affects-your-health-wellness/.
The Harvard Gazette. (2018). Health & Medicine: What’s another hour of lost sleep? For some, a hazard. Retrieved March 9, 2018, from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/03/harvard-researcher-sheds-light-on-links-between-sleep-and-health/