3 Tips for Daylight Savings

This Sunday is daylight savings, that one day per year that the majority of the country springs forward and loses an hour of sleep.

One hour, no big deal, eh? Actually, losing an hour of sleep can be quite challenging for the body and has implications reaching beyond just feeling groggy and reaching for an extra cup of coffee in the morning.

According to information published in Science Daily by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “the annual transition to and from daylight saving time (DST) has clinical implications that last longer than the days where clocks fall back or spring forward.”

They go on to explain that, despite thinking that just one hour of sleep is affected, daylight savings adjustments actually affects 8 months of sleep due to shifting our circadian biology by a full hour every day between March and November.

Circadian Health and Light

As a part of our natural circadian rhythm, the human body operates via queues from natural sunlight, signaling a variety of chemical-, hormone- and neurotransmitter-led processes that keep the body’s systems in check. This is why it is important to spend time outside in natural sunlight, especially during sunrise and sunset – without sunglasses – throughout the day.

By changing times, even by one hour, the circadian rhythm gets disrupted, and can result in a variety of ailments.

Health Risks from Springing Forward

On the days following the daylight savings adjustment…

  • Fatal automobile accidents increase by 6% following daylight savings. (click for reference)
  • Heart attacks spike by 24% the Monday morning after daylight savings. (click for reference)
  • Ischemic Stroke increases on average by 8%, with people over 65 at a 20% increased risk, as well as a 25% increase in cancer patients. (click for reference)

So, what can you do to support yourself in a healthy transition this coming weekend?

3 Tips to Navigate the Time Change

Try to shift your sleep time by 10-15 minutes starting tonight, increasing it by another 10-15 minutes each night until you’ve shifted a full hour. I know this can be tough to do, so here are a few tips to help you.

  1. Limit artificial light after sunset. This can be accomplished by using amber-colored blue light blocking lenses, like these from Vivarays.com (use code UPLIFT for 10% off). You can also use low-watt task lighting, red lighting, and avoid blue light from screens and devices at least two hours before your new bed time.
  2. Finish any caloric intake 4 hours before bed. This allows the body’s core temperature to cool which helps to trigger the release of melatonin.
  3. Avoid all sources of caffeine after noon. It can take 8-10 hours for caffeine to fully leave your system. Caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter that creates something calling sleep pressure. The presence of this sleep pressure will help you fall asleep at an earlier time.

When to Nap

If you feel sleepy on Sunday and Monday, take a short nap. Try to limit the nap to 30 minutes, and ideally nap between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm. In fact, Monday is National Nap day! Block time on your calendar and treat yourself to a little snooze!

Would you like to sleep and feel better? I can help. Schedule complimentary time on my calendar here.

Until next time,