I’m sure there aren’t many people who like turning their clocks an hour forward in the spring and then back in the fall.
And even for those who don’t mind it, the data showing it has an impact on health is undeniable. On Sunday, much of North America will “fall back” out of daylight savings time, and it’s likely to leave you feeling groggy, irritable, and potentially in dangerous situations.
The health risks of falling back, thankfully, aren’t as severe as springing forward. The springtime change is associated with increased heart attacks and car accidents, but the same spikes aren’t seen when clocks roll back an hour.
One of the biggest challenges this time of year is sleep.
You may feel great when you look at the clock, thinking it’s 7 am and it’s really 6, allowing you to head back for another hour of shuteye.
But you’ll undoubtedly feel it that evening and a few days later.
Starting to prepare for the time change a few days before the clocks changing can help your body prepare.
If you feel sluggish during the day, try to avoid napping. Staying awake during the days, especially for the first week or so after the time change, will help your body adjust to its new schedule. If a nap is unavoidable, cap it at about 20 minutes.
Maintaining your regular routine is also a good strategy to help with the adjustment.
As we head into the cooler, darker months, it’s also recommended to try and expose yourself to natural light as much as you can. This can affect mood and help regulate circadian rhythm.
Open up the blinds when you wake up and sit near a window to start your day. If possible, try to get outside at some point during the daytime to enjoy the effects of the autumn and winter sun.