It is officially the time for pumpkin spice and everything nice, which means that it is also almost time to turn our clocks back an hour to mark the end of the daylight saving time (DST).
The idea of turning the clocks by one hour, twice a year, was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin as a means to save energy. He felt that by moving the clock an hour forward in the spring, everyone could utilize the natural light instead of using more electricity.
While it may be good for saving energy, it has been noticed that these switches can mess with our systems and disrupt the circadian rhythm for at least a couple of days after each switch. Is there a way to cope with these changes?
Prepping for the End of Daylight Saving Time
The DST was first established in the 1800s and has since been practiced in most parts of the U.S. As of 2005, The Energy Policy Act has set the start and end dates of DST as the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November, respectively.
All the U.S. states except Hawaii and Arizona follow DST, which means that the people in these states do not have to worry about changing their clocks twice a year and tuning their bodies to the new routine.
While many rejoice at the extra hour of sleep they’ll get, many others only think about the darker evenings in store for them.
Effects on Sleep
It is a known fact that even the tiniest amount of sleep deprivation can accumulate as sleep debt and lead to a problem called social jet lag, which is often compared to actual jet lag caused by traveling to different time zones. The loss of even an hour of sleep is said to impact our sleep routine, which can eventually impact overall health.
Governed by the natural light and dark cycles, the body’s circadian rhythm rules over our sleep and wake cycles and the one hour change to the clocks can confuse the circadian rhythm to impact “our body temperature, mental alertness, hormone levels, gastrointestinal (GI) function and our sleeping habits.” Experts believe that it takes at least 24 hours or sometimes even longer to adjust to these annual changes caused by DST.
Following a sleep schedule is important throughout the year, but it is crucial during the beginning and end of DST because many people find it difficult to fall asleep during these transitions.
Tips to Cope with the End of DST
- Make little changes to your daily routine a week before the first Sunday of November (If your schedule allows it, try to get to bed at least 15 minutes later than usual, from about four days before the Sunday, and increase this by 15-minute increments to reset it to a whole hour later, which will be perfect when you change the clocks)
- Make sure your bedroom windows don’t let in too much light, as it can disturb your sleep
- Utilize the extra light in the mornings to fit in a workout or a hobby, or simply use the hour to sit peacefully before the day’s chaos
- Use the bonus hour to prep the day’s lunches and snacks
- Try to incorporate a quick walk during your lunch break to help boost your mood
- Dark evenings can be spent catching up with the kids
- Avoid long afternoon siestas leading up to the end of DST as they can throw your circadian rhythm off balance
- Try to manage your meal times accordingly so that you don’t end up feeling stuffed just before bedtime
While your computers and smartphones will reset their clocks automatically, don’t forget to change the time on the wall clocks, your watches, microwave, stove and any other appliance that may have a digital time display on Saturday night itself to avoid any confusion when you wake up on Sunday.
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Gore, L. (2017, November 04). Time change tonight: Get ready to ‘fall back’ 1 hour as Daylight Saving Time ends. Retrieved from https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/time_change_this_weekend_get_r.html
How to prepare for the end of daylight saving time. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mountnittany.org/articles/how-to-prepare-for-the-end-of-daylight-savings-time
WhittakerOct, A. (n.d.). End of Daylight Saving Time: How to Adjust. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/end-of-daylight-saving-time/