After spending most of the year operating on the same time schedule, Daylight Savings Time is ending once again, throwing a wrench into the works for many of us. While we may not all understand exactly why we go through this biannual time-changing tradition, many of us do know that it is hard for our bodies to adjust to the new time change instead of keeping our same sleep schedule all year around. Here's some information from the staff at Resurgens Orthopaedics about how the end of Daylight Savings Time can affect your musculoskeletal system and some tips that may help you cope with the time change.
Daylight Savings Time and Lack of Sleep
When the time changes in the fall, you actually repeat the same hour twice, meaning that if you want to keep the same bedtime, you'll be staying up an hour later than usual. And even though you'll now have an extra hour to report to work the following week, your body likely won't be able to accommodate for this difference that quickly. That means you'll probably be staying up later than usual and waking up earlier, and it will take some time to adjust to this new schedule. While you're adjusting, your sleep cycle can be significantly impacted.
When you're operating on a deficit of sleep, not only does it affect your body's ability to heal from injuries and to replenish the lost fluid in your vertebral discs, it can also make you more likely to suffer injuries in an accident due to impaired cognitive function or drowsiness. While the most severe effects of sleep deprivation occur in the long term, the end of Daylight Savings Time can throw off your sleep cycle for days or even weeks, leaving you vulnerable to these short-term effects.
How to Cope with Daylight Savings Time Change
If you want to avoid the most severe effects associated with the end of Daylight Savings Time, there are a few things you can do. Because the time change occurs on the weekend, you may be able adjust your bedtime and wake-up time by 30 minutes one day, and by another 30 minutes on Sunday night going into Monday.That way, by the time you head out for work, you'll already be adjusted to the change.
While it may be too late for this Daylight Savings Time, you may be able to get a jump on the next one by gradually adjusting your sleep cycle by 5-10 minutes per day starting a week or two ahead of the time change. Another option is to completely ignore the end of Daylight Savings Time! Instead of adjusting to the time change, just go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier until the next time change. That way, you'll maintain a normal sleep cycle during that entire period and you won't be as stressed out when Daylight Savings Time returns. Who knows; you may even enjoy having that extra hour in the morning to get ready for work!
Whether you understand the reason for Daylight Savings Time or you think it's obsolete, your clocks are going to change either way. With these tips from Resurgens Orthopaedics, you may be able to stave off the negative effects of the time change and remain fully functional during that period. We wish you luck as you deal with your new schedule; the good news is that you only have to wait until March before things return to normal!