Why does daylight savings time affect us?

Daylight savings forces us to advance our clocks forward by one hour. This moves an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, giving us longer summer nights. Why does losing that one hour makes such a big difference in how we feel? Moving our clocks in either direction changes the Circadian rhythm, which the natural, internal process that regulates our sleep cycle. When time changes, we become out of sync, and how we adapt depends on our own unique lifestyles, sleep habits, and health. Not to mention the light plays a big part in the environment. Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin.

Being tired can decrease productivity, concentration, and general well-being. There are some simple ways of making it easier to handle the clock change:

How can we adapt quickly?

  • (For next year) Adjust your body clock, and wake up a little earlier than usual in the week before springing forward. This makes it easier to get out of bed on Monday morning.
  • Expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible
  • Do not expose yourself to bright light when it is dark outside.
  • Do not drink caffeine or alcohol before bed.
  • Take a hot shower or bath-calming
  • Wear earplugs or eye masks
  • Try to go to bed and awake at the same time every day/night.
  • Use essential oils such as lavender on your pillow-calming
  • Eat a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning. Food tells your body it is the start of the day.
  • Go for a walk in the light. Sunlight and exercise adjust the body clock.

For more ideas on developing a healthy lifestyle, visit my lifestyle website and read my blog online for tips on aging gracefully.