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Prep For Daylight Savings

Posted by Julian Torres, "JT" on Feb 19, 2024 5:48:06 PM

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Spring has almost arrived, which means most of us will be getting ready to deal with an extra hour of daylight. The long dark of winter days must now give way to the perpetual light of spring, but that change can bring a host of challenges for anyone unprepared for the changeover.

It doesn’t seem fair, really. We just got used to everything getting dark before 6 p.m. (on the east coast, at least), and now we’ve got to adjust to 8 p.m. sunsets. Well, not to worry; we’ve got some ideas on how to work through the changes.

Plan Ahead

The biggest hurdle to adjusting to daylight savings time will be the loss of an hour on the first night. While one hour doesn’t sound like much, anyone that has lost an hour of sleep will tell you otherwise.

To counter the loss of time, the simplest solution will be to go to bed an hour earlier than usual on the Saturday, March 9. This strategy may not prevent all the side effects of altering the daytime hours, but it will give you a head start with adjusting to the new daylight clock.

You can also set your clocks and watches ahead one hour before you go to sleep on Saturday, March 9. The loss of time can be disorienting enough without having to figure out the time when you wake up the next morning.

Plan Your Sun Exposure

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes that daylight plays a huge role in your body’s circadian rhythm, or the natural rhythm of knowing when to sleep and when to be active. While prioritizing sleep can help you deal with daylight savings, it’s also important to seek out natural light so your body can learn the new daytime pattern.

While this may seem obvious, consider the amount of time many people spend in homes and offices that rely solely on electric light. Halogen light does not provide the same kind of health benefits of natural sunlight, so finding daylight can do wonders for your health and the ability to adapt to the day’s new timetable.

Adjust Gradually

Whoever coined the term “spring forward” to discuss daylight savings was obviously not thinking about how most people react to radical changes in daytime spacing. Anyone that’s ever had to work the night shift knows how tough it can be to deal with any level of daytime/nighttime changes.

The best solution? Give yourself time to adapt. It’s the rare person who can handle losing an hour of sleep and tumble freely into a new daylight schedule with no side effects or problems. For the rest of us, baby steps may be the best solution.

Try slowly altering your schedule by starting some activities 15 minutes earlier than before, such as having dinner or going to the gym. It’s a small difference, but it could provide you with more of a cushion for your changes.

Slow And Steady

Remember to move your clocks forward an hour on Saturday, March 9, and go to bed early if you can. And if you do feel a little disoriented on March 10, don’t worry; just think of summer and the rest will follow.

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