"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The dark side of daylight saving time

On March 12, most Americans will observe the beginning of Daylight Savings Time (DST) and “spring forward” by setting their clocks forward one hour. (Exceptions are people living in Arizona and Hawaii.)

DST lasts from mid-March to early November when the clocks return one hour and return to plain time. During DST, people can spend more time in sunlight within the evening. But this convenience comes at a price.

Go to the sunshine

Research shows that changing your clocks twice a yr can have different health consequences. Of the 2, moving forward an hour is more disruptive. This hour shift can disrupt our circadian rhythms, the body's natural 24-hour cycles that regulate essential functions resembling appetite, mood and sleep.

Circadian rhythms are largely depending on light exposure. The hour change in spring causes initially darker mornings and lighter evenings. Low light within the morning can reduce levels of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin. Conversely, exposure to light after dusk can delay the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you go to sleep.

Many people even have trouble adjusting their sleep schedule to the brand new time. For the primary few days or per week, they could go to bed later or get up sooner than usual, which may cause sleep deprivation. One study found that, on average, 40 minutes less sleep is obtained on Mondays after DST begins than on other nights of the yr.

“Poor sleep can make people feel tired, grumpy, and less focused,” says Dr. Czeisler. This may partially explain the 6 percent increase in automotive accidents after the spring time change, in accordance with a 2020 study within the journal Science. Current biology. Poor sleep because of DST may exacerbate existing problems resembling depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder.

Is the top of daylight savings near?

The current Daylight Savings Time (DST) was officially adopted in 1966. Proponents consider the semiannual time change means people can enjoy outdoor activities longer, save energy through the use of less electricity for lighting, and could have a positive economic impact. will

But DST has its critics. A 2022 poll found that 61% of Americans supported ending DST. In addition, many sleep experts say the evidence strongly suggests that staying on standard time year-round is healthy. A bill to finish the time change has been introduced prior to now three sessions of Congress but has yet to be signed into law. It stays to be seen whether lawmakers will reintroduce it.

Prepare for the switch

People can take steps to make the change of hours easier for his or her bodies and minds. Dr. Czeisler offers several different perspectives:

Change your bedtime. About three days before the time change, go to bed and get up 10 to quarter-hour sooner than usual. The next night, aim for 20 to half-hour, after which the third night for 30 to 45 minutes. “By the end of this period, your body will have readjusted to that lost hour, and you won't feel the pressure to try to catch up on sleep as quickly,” says Dr. Czeisler.

Take afternoon naps. If you are feeling drained within the afternoon after DST starts, take a scheduled afternoon nap of 20 to half-hour (sleeping longer than that could make you are feeling much more groggy).

Get more light. During the primary week after the time change, attempt to get about quarter-hour of exposure to morning light, which can assist maintain your circadian rhythm. Another option is to make use of a lightweight box that produces a vibrant white light. Choose a lightweight box with a ten,000 lux exposure (lux is a measure of sunshine intensity). Sit about 12 inches apart for half-hour. Keep your eyes open, but don't look directly at the sunshine. Spend time reading, writing, or simply being present.

Delay your day. For several days after the time change, postpone your every day routine by one hour. For example, if you happen to go for a morning walk at 8 a.m., wait until 9 a.m. “Your internal clock is still running an hour behind, so you give it a chance to adjust,” Says Dr. Sizzler. Gradually reduce your starting time to 10 or quarter-hour. Within per week, your body clock should reset to the brand new time.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages several days before and after the time change, as they'll disrupt your sleep.

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