Daylight Savings Time

What is it about one hour? It’s not like an entire day of traveling and adjusting to another time zone, it’s just ONE hour! Why do we struggle so much with Daylight Savings Time? Unlike some of my “morning people” friends and family, I was still tripping over my own feet trying to get a second cup of coffee several hours into the modified day.

I enjoyed scrolling through social media while I waited for the caffeine to produce some efficacy, reading the memes and funny reactions people have to losing one hour of sleep. From pictures of Cher turning back time, to excuses for tardiness when Monday’s work day rolls back around, it’s all quite comical! I couldn’t help but to recall the fall time change when my teenage son jokingly asked me why I was up past my bedtime, while the clock read 6:30pm. After all, it was pitch black outside. I remained in a perpetual state of exhaustion for what felt like several weeks. But, in all truth, this one hour time change can really cause chaos to the mind and body. 

Statistics show a 6% increase in fatal car accidents in the week following DST. Sleep deprivation, of course, is to blame and we really don’t prepare our bodies for this hour transition the way we should. According to Healthline, this “mini-jet lag” can last up to two weeks and moreso, the biannual time change has been linked to plenty of other negative side effects such as injuries in the workplace, stroke and even heart attack. It is suggested we prioritize our sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to pretend I have the ability to prioritize my sleep every day! 

Since preparing for the time change inadvertently slipped my mind last week, I thought it’d be good to reference this for the future, specifically this coming November 1st when we get whacked with another time adjustment. Recommendations to smoothly adapt includes acclimating to the change ahead of time. For a week prior to the dreaded hour shift, maintain a rigid sleep schedule. Prepare yourself for a good night by limiting heavy foods for dinner, sticking to a firm bedtime and even consider minimizing light exposure as you venture into your sleepy routine. And, if you’re like me and failed to prepare for the most recent spring forward and Monday hit you like a ton of bricks, here’s how to make it through the workweek. While your body’s internal circadian rhythm is catching up to the new schedule, make plans to settle down a little earlier in the evenings this week. Avoid those catnaps that would seem to be a quick fix, steer clear of caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bedtime, and when the alarm goes off in the morning, get outside or in sunlight as quickly as possible. If all else fails, use the weekend or your next day off to focus on rest. If you still have a persistent case of fatigue after a week or so, there are two states that opted out of DST; Arizona and Hawaii. I think I could add a lei to my wardrobe!

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~Shannon Hadeed

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