Fall back but don’t fall down!
Ready or not; it’s almost time to ‘Fall Back’one hour. Time change occurs this weekend for many of us. Here are some tips for handling the transition with ease.
Daylight Savings Time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, which means many of us will need to turn our clocks back one hour before heading to bed Saturday night Oct. 31. Time change weekend signals the official start of shorter days.
Moving our clocks in either direction, can have a profound effect on our health and circadian rhythms. Our internal clock, or natural 24 hour cycle,can become out of sync. How well and how quickly we re-calibrate will depend on several factors.
Since light is the principal cue for setting or resetting our body’s natural cycle, some adjustments will be required
–Light exposure. Get as much as possible during the day. Avoid turning on bright lights when it is already dark out. The reason? Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. Keep a night light handy for those bathroom trips rather than turning on bright lights.
We are already a sleep-deprived people. Don’t add to issue. Accidents at both the workplace and on the highway become increasingly common following a time change. Not only is physical safety challenged, but overall health, as well. The connection between sleep deprivation and heart attacks is a genuine concern.
Some things to consider to avoid feeling like a zombie:
–Getting a minimum of 7 to 8 hours sleep will help us wake feeling refreshed. Try getting to bed just a bit earlier than normal the night before.
–Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Alcohol disrupts sleep. Don’t add ‘fuel’ to the fire.
–Avoid excessive caffeine late in the day. Consuming caffeine close to bedtime will only add to feeling sleep deprived and fatigued the following day by disrupting sleep.
–Food. While there is no scientific proof that food plays a role in sleep pattern; everyone is unique. If you know spicy food right before bedtime will keep you awake; avoid it. There are some studies showing carbohydrates prior to bed promote better sleep.
For most of us, a day or two will have us adapting fairly well to the time shift.