Daylight saving time ends for most Americans this weekend. While most appreciate the extra hour of sleep as they “fall back”, some find that children and pets don’t always get the memo to sleep in. And even with the extra hour of sleep, some people may find themselves even more tired as the week progresses on. But why?
The change in the time that the sun rises and sets disrupts our circadian rhythm and puts strain on the body. That additional hour of sleep and the change in circadian rhythm can lead to worse sleep, insomnia, or general sleepiness throughout the day. Any type of sleep disruption puts stress on your body, and in turn, puts stress on your immune system.
Adjusting your sleep schedule before the time change can help combat the full effects of daylight saving time ending. Try pushing your normal “bedtime” back 30 minutes tomorrow (Friday) night, and then an additional 30 minutes Saturday night to equal the total hour that would you are gaining. The same can be done for children. You may still feel out of whack for a day or two after adjusting your schedule, but the overall effect to your system will not be as drastic if you had not adjusted your schedule
Besides the circadian rhythm disruption, daylight saving time ending means that there will be more darkness during our waking hours. This presents a driving hazard for some, and it also leads to an increased risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that is a recognized by the American Psychological Association. Ways to manage SAD are eating healthy, doing things you enjoy, staying active, experiencing daylight as much as possible, and seeking professional help if you continue to struggle with feelings of depression.
Check back in the spring for our tips on how to manage daylight saving time starting again.