Daylight-saving time change is quickly approaching, but with digital clocks on our phones and devices, we tend to not worry about changing our clock hands. Nevertheless, daylight-saving time involves a time change in the spring which advances our clocks forward by one hour. In general, this moves an hour of the daylight from the morning to the evening. Therefore, giving us the “long summer nights” that many artists sing about. But how does this impact us?
In reality, daylight-saving time can have an impact on our ability to function. In the fall, we gain one hour of sleep during the night. However, in the spring, we lose one hour of sleep. This can make it difficult for us to wake up on that early Monday morning. Therefore, here are some helpful tips to adjusting to the daylight-saving time change in the spring:
- Start waking up a little earlier in the days leading up to the time change.
- Eat a healthy breakfast to wake your body up for the day.
- Spend some extra time outside in the daylight to readjust your body’s circadian rhythm.
- Limit your time spent in light prior to bed to help you fall asleep.
- Reduce caffeine consumption at night to encourage sleep.
(And personally, I’ll be having an extra cup of coffee on Monday morning 😉)
Now you may be thinking, “What harm can come from gaining an hour of sleep in the fall?” However, all changes in our circadian rhythm can impact our ability to fall asleep and wake up. Ultimately, this can have an impact on our mental health.
Time change has a specific connection with “seasonal depression” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Individuals are more likely to experience symptoms of depression in the fall and winter months because we tend to have limited exposure to sunlight. This prevents our circadian rhythm from producing the hormonal signals to wake up and go to sleep. In general, your body is producing less serotonin and less melatonin. So here are some tips for returning back to standard time in the fall:
- Spend extra time in the sunlight.
- Incorporate regular exercise to boost serotonin and endorphins.
- Reach out to family or friends for social support.
- Eat a balanced diet and incorporate omega-3 fats to boost mood.
- Engage in self-care.