Daylight Saving Time is this Sunday, and most people in the United States (minus those in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, a handful of US islands) will turn their clocks back one hour. This is good news. It means an additional hour of rest and sleep. The bad news? We're going to have to sacrifice some daylight for it.
As far as health concerns are related, losing an hour of daylight may not seem like such a big deal. We'll just compensate with an extra shot of espresso to help us stay awake at the office as the sun goes down, right? We were surprised to learn though that Daylight Saving can, in fact, be hard on our health, even if in small ways.
In his article published on Vox about spring daylights savings, Brian Resnick claims, "...we humans are fragile, sensitive animals. Small disruptions in our sleep have been shown to alter basic indicators of our health and dull our mental edge."
He goes on to explain that "when our biological clocks are off, everything about us is out of sync. Our bodies run this tight schedule to try to keep up with our actions."
Thankfully, we can take action to soften the blow (so to speak) of losing out on extra daylight this weekend and for the rest of the winter. For starters, we can listen to our bodies and go to bed when we begin to feel tired—even if that's an hour earlier than usual.
We can take advantage of the darker and longer nights by getting enough sleep and even taking catnaps when we're feeling extra tired from the changes.
Moreover, you can help your body adjust to Daylight Saving Time by strictly adhering to your evening routine in the coming week. That means turning off electronics at least one hour before bed, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and unwinding in the final hours of the day with a book, a bath, or anything to help induce slumber. Check out our sleep tips for further suggestions.
Finally, be kind to your body as it adjusts to this small (but still shocking) change. If you're feeling extra tired or even a bit depressed by the darker days, you're not alone. Remember that your body will adapt soon. This change ultimately means a season of rest and renewal—something we could all use a bit more of these days.