Enjoying that Extra Hour of Sleep? – How Daylight Affects Our Sleep and Productivity
Across the United States, daylight savings time has already ended; however, some might still be feeling the effects. At the end of daylight savings time, we "fall back" or set our clocks one hour back. The term "fall back" is associated with the fall season, when the leaves on the trees fall down. This means that our days are starting to get shorter and there will be fewer hours of sunlight. To some, this could mean sleeping in and rolling out of bed an hour later; to others this means another day of feeling under the weather due to lack of sleep.
One of the United States founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin created daylight savings time. Franklin believed that if we could conserve energy by making most of the sun's natural light, it would benefit us all. Today, we know that it helps conserve our energy greatly and helps with personal savings on electricity bills.
Although our wallets benefit from daylight savings time, there are some changes that could affect a person's body including sleeping habits. In the fall during the daylight saving time transitions, only a minority of people actually get that extra hour of sleep. During the week, many experience difficulty falling asleep, can wake up earlier than usual, and tend to wake up more often than usual. Sleep deprivation can also cause head and body aches, more stress on the body, and impair memory and cognitive function. This is why it is important to receive at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
These are something's you can do to ensure you stay healthy at the end of daylight savings time:
- Waking up and going to bed at a normal time. Many people during the end of daylight savings tend to go to bed later and wake up earlier. However, sleeping longer than usual can leave you feeling off for the rest of the week. We recommend to wake up at the same time every day and going to sleep at the same time every day. This will put you in a cycle and leaves out excuses to disrupt that cycle.
- Always eat right and exercise. Eating healthy and exercise can be a great way to help you feel energized and ready to start your day after a long nights rest. An active and healthy lifestyle can help your sleep and health in several ways. Take time in the morning to go on a walk with a family member or friend. You also now have an excuse to visit the gym more often because the sun will be going down sooner. This will help you stay fit and gives you an excuse to get out of the house.
- Consider the children. If you have children, make sure their sleep cycles are consistent. Otherwise, they could lose an hour of sleep as well. If children loose an hour of sleep, they could fall asleep in school, lack concentration, and skip out on homework and family time. It is important to keep our children healthy at all times of the year and make sure they stay on a frequent sleep cycle as well.
- Vitamin D. Now that days are shorter, there will be less time for your body to soak up the sun’s Vitamin D. It may be good for you to not only get outside to exercise when there is sunlight, but to may want to take a Vitamin D supplement. A healthy dose of Vitamin D can help your sleep pattern and improve your mood.
- Try eating at the same time. Try to set an exact time to have dinner. Now that we have fell back an hour, many will be feeling hungry earlier. Eating earlier can cause you to be hungry right before bed and leave you hungry during the middle of the night. Hunger may cause unhealthy snacking and eating habits. So try to set up a uniform time for you and your family to eat meals especially dinner.
It is important that your schedule does not change, even though the time has. These tips could help prevent further issues with your health and help minimize the impact that sleep deprivation has on your body. Sleep effects all parts of your day that is why it is important to prepare and adjust with the seasons.