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Health, Lifestyle, Prevention

Forward and Back: The Effects of Daylight Savings Time

pexels-photo-359989Like many people, you might be looking forward to “falling” back an hour on November 5th. Whether you have more time to get stuff done before bed, or you just use it as an extra hour of sleep, the ending of Daylight Savings Time (DST) seems to be an easier adjustment than the beginning. But is it really? What are the effects of DST on your body?No matter what the change, your body will need to adjust. We all have circadian rhythm, an internal clock that keeps our sleep schedule on track. Losing or gaining an hour puts that rhythm out of sync, meaning we have to adjust to the new time. How long this takes varies from person to person, but it can be anywhere from a day to a week. You might have experienced something similar if you’ve ever been on an airplane that flew into a new time zone. The “jet lag” is our circadian rhythm trying to adjust to the new clock. In the spring, “losing” an hour can be more impactful on you, simply because if you go to bed at the time you’re used to, you’ll have less sleep. Fortunately, for the fall, we “gain” an hour of potential extra sleep, so it is recommended you simply go to bed at the same time you’re used to. Even with the extra hour, your body should feel about the same when you wake up, if not more rested. If you do find yourself feeling sluggish, one helpful tip is to avoid trying to compensate with a long nap. Sleeping during the day can make it much harder to fall asleep at night.There are a couple other things you can do to get to sleep sooner. A hot bath or cup of chamomile tea is good for relaxing the body. It can also help to control the light around you. Our bodies react to light by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep. That’s why it’s important to be exposed to light during the waking hours and avoid it when trying to sleep. It is also recommended to stay off your phone or other handheld devices at bedtime, since the artificial light from these screens makes it harder for you to fall asleep.Enjoy the extra hour this weekend!

Category Health, Lifestyle, Prevention
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