It’s almost that time of year, when we can finally take advantage of the warmer weather by enjoying the longer days. But, unlike the time change in October when you gain an extra hour of sleep, on March 13th, you’ll lose an hour of sleep. Although this may seem like just a small amount of sleep time lost, research shows that this yearly occurrence has more of an effect on your health than you may think.
Daylight Savings Time can alter your circadian rhythm, the body’s sleep/wake cycle. Due to this change in your natural sleep cycle, you may find it more difficult to wake up in the morning and you may feel much groggier throughout the day. But that’s not all.
Studies reveal that this shift in your sleep cycle has been linked to altering mental alertness—which could be a large determining factor in the spike in car accidents1 and workplace injuries2 that occur after the time change. Additionally, a rise in heart attacks3 has also been noted, as the change in sleep patterns has been shown to increase stress hormones and inflammation. Cyber loafing, a relatively new concept for reduced productivity in the workplace, is also blamed on the time change.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to regulate your sleep cycle to help avoid most of these effects from the time change:
Establish a routine a few days before Daylight Savings Time. Go to bed a half an hour to an hour earlier than you normally do. The more sleep-deprived you are before the change, the more you will feel the effects of losing an hour of sleep until your body adjusts.
Make sure you sleep in a dark room. Any form of light, whether from a street lamp or cellphone, can impact the melatonin production in your body and impact your quality of sleep.
Try taking a natural sleep aid supplement containing melatonin and stress-relieving herbs, such as Jamieson Healthy SLEEPTM, 4-5 days before the time change. It can help regulate the body’s sleep/wake cycle, help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, increase the number of sleeping hours and improve sleep quality, without the negative side effects of traditional sleep aids.
To reduce fatigue and increase energy throughout the day, try supplementing with vitamin B12. This is especially important for those who are already taking medication, are over the age of 50 or who are vegetarian. A B12 deficiency can result in lower energy, mood changes and difficulty concentrating, all of which can be exacerbated with poor sleep quality.
If your fatigue or restlessness persists, consult a healthcare practitioner to determine if there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.