Every year this time we are called to “spring” ahead one hour for Daylight Savings.
Many of us, I included, it is more of a stumble, or an all out faceplant because it completely throws off our sleep cycle.
We can blame Benjamin Franklin in the 1780’s for coming up with this idea. He thought it would benefit the farmers and save candles; I think it was too much lightning to the brain.
Daylight Savings came to America in 1918 during the first world war as a way to save energy, and in the first Bush presidency, it became a law that Daylight Savings would happen the second Sunday in March and switch back to Standard Time the first Sunday of November.
Some argue that we can savor a little more light after work and this benefits our moods and emotions. But, the lack of sleep causes disruption to people’s sleep pattern which in turn affects our moods, productivity (at work or home), workplace accidents rise after the change, as do car crashes. A study links that sleep deprivation might have played a significant role in the Exxon Valdez, the Challenger, the Three Mile Island and the Chernobyl disasters. Scientists are studying the effect changing time has on the increase of strokes and heart attacks. The change of time wrecks havoc on diets and appetite, less sleep makes the body release the hormone ghrelin which makes you hungry. Now, the financial world is even showing the trend of losses after we spring ahead.
The anxiety of the oncoming loss of an hour of sleep is immense in some. A study in 2007, concluded that for some of us, our circadian rhythms never adjust—until we set our clocks back until the Fall—meaning they never adjust.
We can’t revolt against the change, unless you decide to move to Arizona, Hawaii, or certain parts of Indiana; so what can you do to help yourself transition?
- First, the week ahead of the change, start heading to bed at the “time” you always go to bed.
- Reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume before bedtime.
- Try not to exercise several hours before you go to bed (for some us that means there will be no workout, because when do you squeeze it in?).
- Try not to depend on sleeping aids to get you through the transition; this could lead to future problems.
- Naturally, expose yourself to light in the morning as soon as you can. You can get a sunlight lamp if need be. And during the night, if you have to get up, try not to turn on the light; just walk slowly, so you don’t hit anything.
- Be careful and considerate of fellow travelers and co-workers; they are groggy too.
Yesterday, all of us did our best to “spring” ahead with one less hour of sleep, counting the days until November when we get to “fall” back into our beds for one extra hour. Ahhh…