Contrary to popular belief, daylight saving time was not to help farmers deal with the changing daylight. It was actually brought about by the Germans (later the English and the French) during World War I to save fuel for the war effort. It was an economic decision forced by a pressing need. This effort wasn’t introduced into the United States until 1918. The bill was so unpopular that it was repealed the following year, as soon as the war was over. It remained a local option throughout the country and continued to be used in many major cities and states. 2021 is the 103rd year the United States has observed daylight saving in some way.
Times have changed, however, and now, many wonder if it’s worth keeping. Each year, the number of heart attacks and strokes jumps at an alarming rate around daylight saving time. Even if you don’t suffer a heart attack or stroke, losing an hour of sleep can leave you feeling ragged. After all, being well-rested is really good for you. With daylight saving time beginning on March 14 at 2 AM, how can you make sure that you’re set back while your clocks are moved forward.
Account for the Loss of an Hour
The most important part of “surviving” daylight saving is to not let the change affect your sleep schedule. This means getting a healthy amount of sleep that evening. For most adults, the range is seven to nine hours a night and seven to eight for seniors. Make sure you’re falling within this range, despite the time shift. This may require adjusting your schedule and going to bed earlier than usual.
For many, this is easier said than done. The circadian rhythm, which dictates your sleep schedule, can be tough to change, and you may not feel tired an hour before your normal bedtime. If you’re worried about that, check out these tips for falling asleep. A combination of these should help you get a good night’s rest in no time.
The circadian rhythm, which dictates your sleep schedule, can be tough to change, and you may not feel tired an hour before your normal bedtime.
There are a few things you should definitely do to help you fall asleep on time. One commonly unheeded piece of advice is to turn off all screens (or set a night filter) an hour before bedtime. This means your phone, laptop, television, and even your e-reader. Blue light, which emanates from the screens, represses melatonin and interrupts our circadian rhythm. When bedtime is nearing, grab a physical book or use a nighttime filter on your electronics to help you get ready.
Finally, avoid caffeine after lunchtime. A morning cup of coffee may be just what you need to kickstart the day, but studies show that drinking caffeinated drinks as far as six hours before bedtime can still lead to disruptions in quality of sleep. If you’re planning on going to bed around 9 or 10 o’clock that evening, nix the coffee after 3 PM.
Wake Your Body Up
The next day, you’ll need to make sure you’re fully awake before getting out and starting the day. This is when a nice cup of coffee comes in handy. You’ll also want to brighten up your home, literally. Either through sunshine or a screen, light will help you feel more awake. It’s the same thinking behind turning off screens before bed. Blue light helps you feel more awake and more focused. You should also avoid hitting the snooze button since you’ll only end up feeling more tired when you do finally get up.
Either through sunshine or a screen, light will help you feel more awake.
Once you’re out of bed, exercise in some way. Exercise is a great way to feel awake, and exercising in the morning is better than a cup of coffee. Not only can it help you wake up, it can help you be healthier, lose weight, and feel better. You can follow up this workout with a cold shower to feel even more awake and alert.
Be Extra Careful Driving the Next Day
Even if you follow all the advice in this article, you should still be careful the week after the time switch. Much like how there’s a surge in heart attacks and strokes annually around the clock change, there’s also a spike in fatal car accidents. This phenomenon, largely caused by sleep deprivation and loss of focus, has been observed for decades.
Those who don’t account for the time shift are driving on less sleep and in a less-than-optimal state. Driving on a regular day can be dangerous, especially for seniors, so in these conditions, the chances for a bad accident spike. Since you can’t control other people, this means that, if you need to drive, be extra careful.
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Daylight saving time, like it or not, is an annual occurrence that nearly every American deals with each year. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that one day doesn’t have lasting effects on your sleep and health.
Huffington Post — 5 Ways To Survive The Start Of Daylight Saving Time