Let’s face it, the only good thing about falling back is that we gain an hour that night. While it’s fun to go back in time and get an extra hour of sleep, getting used to shorter days and evening setting in by 5pm can be tough. For many, daylight saving time affects health, mood, body clocks as well as throwing sleeping patterns are out of sync. Additionally, the notion that the holiday season and new year are right around the corner is enough to raise the blood pressure. In fact, studies have found a link between heart attack incidences and daylight saving time. But don’t fret, there are many ways to combat these stresses.
In a few short weeks, we will be falling back. Shorter days, longer, cooler nights are ahead and for many, it’s a bummer. A lot of folks say that daylight saving time affects their sleeping patterns and body clocks. Drowsiness, headaches and additional stress are among the complaints given by those who feel negatively affected by daylight saving time.
Studies have shown that incidences of heart attacks increased significantly for the first three week days after the transition to daylight saving time when it’s time to spring forward. In contrast, there were fewer incidences of heart attacks after the transition when we fall back. That’s a plus! The study found that the most plausible explanation for the findings is the adverse effect of sleep deprivation on cardiovascular health since in the spring we lose the hour. While it may sound kooky, it happens enough that scientists decided to figure out what was going on ; )
It so happens that the study reported that transitions into daylight saving time could disrupt chronobiologic rhythms and influence the duration and quality of sleep, which oddly enough can last for many days after the shifts. According to the researchers, they found a possible explanation for heart attacks most commonly occurring on Mondays. For more information on this study, visit The New England Journal of Medicine. Another study, printed in Current Biology, indicates that the human circadian system does not adjust to daylight saving time and that its seasonal adaptation to the changing photoperiods is disrupted by the introduction of a new season.
While these are the more severe affects of switching the clock back or forth, we all experience something. Be it depression due to lack of sunlight or waking up to early as the sun beats down from a new angle in your room, it takes some getting used to. And it can be done with some simple tips!
- Exercise in form of a brisk walk or run can help people adjust to the change. A brisk walk or run stimulates the serotonin release in the brain and other types of neurotransmitters that will phase-advance the clock.
- Another suggestion is to gain exposure to bright natural light for an hour or two. Get your vitamin D in where you can!
- If you’re having trouble sleeping, take low dosage melatonin supplements to boost melatonin levels, as melatonin regulates cycles of sleep and wakefulness. You can find plant based melatonin anywhere and its perfectly safe and natural.
- Be sure to eat at your regular time. Don’t let the pitch black at 5pm fool you into eating earlier, leaving you hungry just before bed or worse, tricking you to fall asleep to soon and waking up to early.
All in all, don’t freak or fret about falling back. Keep up your healthy diet and work out routine and before you know it you’ll be used to the change ; )