Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts on March 10 in most of the United States, parts of Canada and some areas of Mexico. In the European countries that adopt DST, many will make the transition on March 31 this year. Many countries around the world have chosen not to have DST in 2019. When DST is not observed, it is called standard time, normal time or winter time.
Although changing to DST only involves an hour’s difference (losing an hour in the spring and gaining one in the fall), there can be a wide range of responses. Some of us don’t feel a difference at all, while others may experience a few days of fatigue from a change in sleep patterns due to having to reset our 24-hour natural cycle known as “circadian rhythm.”1 Internally generated, our circadian rhythm may be influenced by the environment, behavior and medications.2
In general, losing an hour in the spring is more difficult to adjust to than gaining an hour in the fall.3 It is similar to airplane travel; traveling east we lose time and may experience difficulty falling asleep at the “earlier” time. Going west, we may fall asleep easily at the “later” hour but have a difficult time waking.
If you have the foresight to plan ahead for losing that hour of sleep, you can go to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual for a few nights leading up to the time change. This may help your brain and body make the transition more smoothly.4 You can also expose yourself to sunlight as early in the morning as you can. This tells your internal clock that it’s time to get moving. If sunlight is unavailable where you live, use bright lights to simulate natural light to enhance mental and physical alertness.5
For some people, it can take as long as a week for their circadian and sleep rhythms to adjust to the time change. Regular exercise at the same time daily may help you get back on track, as well as going to bed and rising on a schedule. 6
In more extreme cases, the time change is linked to changes in health, diet and even the tendency to get into an accident. Sleep expert Chris Winter, M.D. explains, “Our bodies function on an internal schedule, from hormone release to body temperature to cognition—sleep is linked to them all. Your body receives signals from hormones, like ghrelin and leptin.”7 Dr. Winter further explains that these two hormones are related to cravings for food and feelings of being full, but are also “intimately associated with sleep, which is part of why when we’re not sleeping well, we tend to overeat.”8
Research published in 2009 showed the Monday after switching to DST saw a 5.7% jump in workplace injuries and nearly 68% more workdays lost to injuries, meaning they were more severe. 9 These conclusions were reached by analyzing U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration injury data from 1983 to 2006.
To prepare for an easy transition into DST, sleep a little earlier on the days before and wake a little earlier as well. Expose yourself to natural light (or simulated natural light) as early as possible upon waking. Eat a healthy breakfast to notify your body the day has begun.
To help block out light for better sleep, wear the Kenko PowerSleep Mask with patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology. Place the KenkoGround on top of your Kenko Naturest® Mattress Topper and sleep with some part of your skin touching it to help you stay grounded and connected to Nature even while in bed! You can practice Active Wellness 24/7!