The yearly time changes may make you more susceptible to certain health problems
Twice a year, we adjust our daily routines by setting our clocks an hour back or an hour ahead, in accordance with daylight saving time. Aside from needing more coffee, time changes can make it more challenging to get out of bed in the morning and may increase your chances of certain health problems.
Right now, there’s no way to get around daylight saving time, but there are some ways to make a smooth transition that lowers your health risks.
When is daylight saving time?
Daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March, with clocks moving forward an hour. According to USA Facts, the time change has been around for over 50 years to get more daylight hours to reduce the need for additional lighting. The only states exempt from this practice are Arizona and Hawaii.
When does daylight saving time end?
The end of daylight saving time occurs on the first Sunday of November when clocks are set back an hour to the standard time.
How does daylight saving time affect your health?
During daylight saving time, we tend to go to bed and fall asleep later, which leads to a delayed sleep-wake cycle, contributing to sleep loss, according to Sleep Education.
Shifting times can increase your risk of health problems and incidents, such as:
- Mental health problems: Daylight saving time has been linked to mental health disorders such as depression and an increased risk of suicide the days after the spring and fall transitions.
- Heart problems: Research reveals that daylight saving time can heighten the risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke.
- Hospital admissions: A research article revealed an increase in hospital admissions in the week following the daylight saving time spring transition.
- Fatal car crashes: A study found that the time change increased the risk of fatal accidents by 6%.
- Workplace injuries: The sleep-related effects of daylight saving time can contribute to a heightened risk of workplace injuries, leading to a lower quality of life among employees, loss of income, and even death.
If you believe daylight saving time is causing serious health problems, please seek help from a health care professional.
Are there any health benefits of daylight saving time?
One potential health benefit of daylight saving time is that it can promote healthy lifestyles by letting people enjoy more outdoor activities rather than sedentary activities, such as watching television.
Tips to prepare for daylight saving time
Here are tips for preparing and adjusting to daylight saving time, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
- Get ready a few days prior: A week or so before the time change, begin going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier or later than your typical bedtime. Doing this gives your body more time to adjust to the time going an hour forward or back to standard time.
- Stick to your schedule: Stay consistent with the times you eat, exercise and go to bed as you manage the switch to daylight saving time. You can also bring bright light into your bedroom to help you adjust.
- Avoid long naps: Don’t take long naps during the day, as this can make it harder to deal with the time change, as you may face challenges with going to sleep at night. If you don’t want to let go of your naps, keep them 20 minutes and under.
- Don’t drink coffee or alcohol close to bedtime: Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks four to six hours before bedtime. It’s also recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol late at night, as this beverage can make it harder to get good-quality sleep.
Best tools to prepare for daylight saving time
Ensure that you get undisturbed sleep with a sound machine. It has 30 sounds and 12 colors to choose from. It has an adjustable night light to create your desired sleep environment. It also has five timer settings and a memory function, so it won’t reset when you cut it off.
A weighted blanket can bring calmness and sound sleep as you transition to daylight saving time. It is made of soft, breathable material and filled with hypoallergenic glass beads. It’s recommended that you pick a blanket between 8% to 12% of your body weight.
When you “spring forward,” your mornings get darker. To get some sunlight, consider a sunrise alarm clock. It has a sunrise simulation that lasts 10 minutes to an hour and several natural sounds. It has a dual alarm clock so you can share it with your family. It also has an FM radio that scans several stations.
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