Daylight Savings Time (DST) officially ends at 2:00 am on the first Sunday in November. This gives us an extra hour of sleep this weekend, which will make most sleepers happy. But keep in mind that there may be side effects as well. Let’s explore how Daylight Savings Time affects your sleep, and what you can do to reduce any effects it may have.
Though it was once suggested by Benjamin Franklin (in jest) as a means of conserving candles (by getting Parisians out of bed earlier in the day), it wasn’t until World War I, when it was suggested as part of a wartime conservation initiative, that it was first used in the United States.
DST was repealed after the war but re-enacted, nationwide during World War II. In 1966, congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 which created consistent dates (last Sunday of April and last Sunday of October) to begin and end daylight savings time each year. The law was amended by the 2005 Energy Policy Act to extend the dates with DST beginning on the Second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November.
The DST practice is not widely embraced by everyone, especially when they lose an hour of sleep in the spring. However, it remains the law of the land that most states except Hawaii, Arizona (except for the Navajo), Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a few other overseas territories who do not observe daylight savings time. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the effect it has on your household.
There are a variety of reasons why daylight savings time makes you feel off-kilter for several days, or even weeks to come, but there’s one primary culprit. The more you understand why the effect is so profound, the more steps you can take to reduce DST’s effect on you.
The primary reason why moving our clocks ahead or back one hour is consequential lies in the disruption to your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that controls sleep, digestion, metabolism, and even when you wake up.
Sunlight is the primary natural cue that signals the body into the appropriate actions. Moving the clock disrupts that rhythm, throwing the entire body into a state of chaos.
Because your sleep and other functions, are disrupted by the change in time, you may experience side effects as your body adjusts to the new time, such as:
Who would have thought something as simple as a one-hour shift in time could cause all these problems? The problem is that it is much larger than a one hour difference. In some areas, it means trying to wake up when the sky is still dark, and convincing the mind to go to sleep while the sun is still out.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help your mind and body adjust to the shift in time. It will help to ease the transition for you and your family.
Getting your circadian rhythm back in order can be a bit of problem. Sometimes you have to convince your mind that the world is a little different than it is. Here are a few steps you can take, to help your body adjust:
Little things like these can make a difference. They will help to minimize the impact DST has on your life and your ability to sleep. Taking steps now to develop good sleep habits can greatly reduce the toll DST takes on your body this year.
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