March has arrived in metro Atlanta and with it comes Spring, the beginning of warmer weather, and the day some of us dread as we leap forward into Daylight Savings Time. During the pandemic, we may find ourselves looking forward to being outside so we can become more active while keeping safety and social distancing in mind. However, losing an hour can wreak havoc on our system for several weeks. It can be more than 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 14th, the physicians and staff of Resurgens Spine Center have some tips to help you through the changes that Daylight Savings time can bring.
How Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Body
Many of us are creatures of habit and we prefer to stick to a routine when it comes to our sleep habits. 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, hinder 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
Since most of us don't plan ahead for Daylight Savings time, you can try to go to bed an hour earlier the night before it begins. Avoiding anything that will help prevent you from falling asleep early such as caffeinated or alcoholic beverages can be helpful. Take advantage of the warm weather forecast for Saturday and get outside for some physical activity so your body will be ready to turn in early. Unwind before bedtime and try to decrease your screen time before bed.
In 2021, Daylight Savings lasts from March 14th to November 7th. This gives us a long stretch of time to enjoy the extra daylight hours to participate in safer activities to promote our own health and well-being during the pandemic. We hope these tips help you as your body transitions to Daylight Savings time.