Springing ahead, when it comes to Daylight Saving Time, comes with some obvious headaches – mainly the disruption to your sleep cycle. But when fall comes around, Daylight Saving Time ends, and we all get the coveted “extra hour” of sleep.
While this sounds great, there can be some health hiccups that come with the season. We sat down with Kimberley Lingler, MD, with Bon Secours – Iron Bridge Family Medicine to discuss some tips for coping with the fall time change.
First, get exposed to more sunshine.
The extra hour of sleep can come with a price – it’s going to get darker sooner. Take advantage of the limited time the sun is out by soaking it in during the day when you can. Getting an appropriate amount of sun in your life can help boost your energy levels and keep you feeling happy.
Second, prioritize your self-care and sleep.
Take it easy during the initial days of the time change. Make time for yourself to de-stress by doing at least one activity per day that you enjoy.
It’s also important to create and stick to a bedtime routine all year long, but especially during the time changes.
“Daylight savings is not just an interruption to our alarm clocks, but also to our internal clocks. Over the following week or more, time shift leads to a decrease in our sleep quality as we adjust,” Dr. Lingler says.
She adds, “Sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal changes that can affect appetite and cravings which can subsequently lead to overeating.”
Here are some tips for better sleep:
- Limit your screen time before bed
- Cut off caffeine a few hours before you’re planning on sleeping
- Use a sleep mask or ear plugs to limit distractions
- Eat a nutritious dinner
- Have a consistent sleep schedule on both weekdays and weekends
And finally, make sure to help your kids adjust, too.
If you have young children, any disruption to their routine – no matter how small – can cause issues. Prep them ahead of time for the time change by going to bed a little later in the days leading up to it. That way, the change won’t be as noticeable for them.
Remember, you can also use Daylight Savings Time as an annual health reminder!
The time changes are going to happen twice every year – so use them to your advantage.
“All of these changes play a role in increasing health risks. Daylight savings time changes lead to higher risks of depression, stroke, heart attack, cancers, diabetes. It’s important to be mindful of how your body and mind react to these,” Dr. Lingler shares.
Let the time changes act as reminders to schedule your yearly exams. On the day the clocks change, use the extra hour to schedule your well visit or health care screenings so you’re all set for the coming year.
Currently looking for a primary care provider? Find a Bon Secours provider near you today.