Spring Forward How to Handle the Effects of Daylight Savings Time

SPRING FORWARD

How to Handle the Effects of Daylight-Saving Time

There is a lot of controversy about this annual routine.  We will soon be setting our clocks forward an hour.  Some people handle it with ease, but others have a hard time getting use to the new schedule.

One hour makes a bit difference in the amount of daylight available as we wake up, get ready for work, wind down and go to bed.  It even makes a difference in people being able to get their exercise and activity.  Daylight is the main regulator of our circadian rhythm, our natural 24-hour sleep cycle; that seemingly slight change in daylight can make it a lot more difficult to fall asleep, wake up and feel energetic throughout the day.

There are strategies you can use on how to cope with the effects of daylight savings time.  Whether you are a night shift worker, an early riser, or if you burn the candle at both ends, these strategies can work for you.

Start on Friday

Resetting your internal clock on a Monday morning can make the rest of the week more stressful.  To ease the change, start by going to bed an hour earlier on Friday night and waking up an hour early on Saturday morning.  You’ll have the whole weekend to adapt and lounge around more than usual.

Change your Mealtimes

Eating and mealtimes are big signals for waking up and going to bed.  Many of us don’t really “get going” until we’ve had our coffee.  You may not sleep well if your dinner is too early or late.  It must fit with your lifestyle.  To help cope with the time change, adjust your mealtimes slowly, starting a few days in advance.

Consistent Morning and Evening Routines

Food is far from the only thing that puts us to sleep.  Circadian rhythms are powerful, but many people become more tired or awake when they go through certain rituals and habits.  Find out what helps you sleep and wake up and make it a habit.

Breakfast or not

Some people do not eat breakfast at all and with the intermittent fasting many do not eat until close to lunchtime.  When people think of early morning energy, they usually think of coffee and caffeine.  If you are of the many people that eat breakfast daily, make sure it is balanced as it is your main source of energy throughout the day.

Spend Time in the Sun

Vitamin D is important for many reasons.  A lack of sun exposure is the main cause of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a condition leads to depression and lethargy.  To compensate for the loss of morning daylight try to get extra sun exposure throughout the day.

Get Active

Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and energy levels and it also can help to normalize your sleep schedule.  People who exercise several times a week also tend to sleep better and are more alert in the day.

 

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