Daylight Savings Time: How to Spring Forward in a Healthy Way

While March brings Spring and warmer weather, it also brings something most of us aren't too fond of - Daylight Savings Time. There may be some debate as to the practicality of this observance but it's a fact that nobody wants to get up an hour earlier than usual, even on a Sunday morning. Beyond simply feeling tired, the Daylight Savings time change can actually have a negative impact on your health. In preparation to set our clocks forward an hour this Sunday, March 8th, Resurgens Orthopaedics has compiled some information about how Daylight Savings affects the body, as well as a few tips to help you make this annual time transition simple and healthier for you.

How Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Body

When it comes to our sleep habits, most people prefer to stick to a routine. We like to go to bed around the same time every day, sleep for 7-9 hours and wake up around the same time. The start of Daylight Savings throws a wrench into that routine, forcing us to get up an hour earlier than usual. It can take a few days or as much as a week to make the adjustment, and during that time, you're bound to feel a bit run-down. Not only can a lack of sleep leave you feeling grouchy, it can also weaken your immune system, impede your ability to heal from injuries, raise your blood pressure, and affect memory, thinking, and concentration. Beyond the physical effects of sleep deprivation, decreased cognitive functioning and fatigue can make you more likely to be injured in an accident (like a car accident) as you go about your day.

Making a Healthy Transition into Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings 2020 lasts from March 8th to November 1st, so you might as well settle in for the long run. The easiest way to make the transition is to start well in advance of the big day. Try starting a week or two before the time change, gradually moving your wake-up time by 10 minutes or so per day. You can even start months in advance by ignoring the end of Daylight Savings Time and keeping the same sleep schedule throughout the year!

Of course, many of us have trouble planning ahead, and now it may be too late. If you're a procrastinator, you can try going to bed an hour early the night before Daylight Savings begins. For best results, avoid doing anything that will make it hard for you to fall asleep early. Stay away from caffeinated beverages in the evening and take some time to wind down before bed (yes, that means cutting out your usual pre-bed screen time). Try getting in a good workout or some other form of physical activity during the course of your day so you'll be ready for an early bedtime. Most importantly, avoid the temptation to nap the day before Daylight Savings; that way you'll have no problem turning in an hour earlier than usual.

Whether or not you think Daylight Savings Time makes sense, it won't change the fact that we'll all be changing our sleep schedules this weekend. If you're anticipating a difficult transition, the tips listed above may be able to help you get it done without too much trouble. And if you absolutely hate the time change, remember the silver lining: it means that warm spring weather is just around the corner!