Well it’s the first Monday after springing forward and losing that hour of sleep, and if you’re anything like us, you’re feeling the effects of that lost hour. To put it bluntly, we’re dragging today. But there is more to this springing forward and falling back than many realize, especially when it comes to our health.
Many people in the US are already sleep deprived, so losing that additional hour makes a huge difference. Most people lose about 40-50 minutes those first 3-5 days after the “spring forward.” Driving sleep deprived is widely considered equally as dangerous as driving drunk. Be extra careful on the road today as many people are suuuper tired.
Many people will also be less productive for the next few days. At work people are more likely to spend time on social media or goofing off, at home people are more likely to watch an increased amount of TV. No matter what though, it doesn’t sound like much is getting done today.
There is a benefit of so many people being tired though! Some police departments report a decrease of 7-10% in crime after the spring daylight saving switch.
But why does your body react this way? Why can’t you just sleep in an hour or go to bed a little earlier and be okay? Well your body has a natural circadian rhythm that is impacted by a number of factors including food intake, sunlight, medication and a host of other things. Unfortunately, your body takes some time to adjust when some of these things are changed. When the sun is rising and setting later, your body’s natural light cues are thrown off and it takes a few days to get on a new schedule. Teenagers take even longer to adjust to the natural light changes.
While it’s too late to prepare for the change, we can try to catch up as soon as possible by making a few easy changes. First, try to go to bed 20 minutes earlier for the next few days, it will help your body adjust to the changing light. You can also make sure not to exercise, eat, drink caffeine or alcohol an hour before bed time. And finally, make sure your bedroom is for sleeping. Don’t bring electronics into the bedroom as the blue light they emit tends to keep people awake.
Hopefully you’ll feel like your old self soon enough so you can enjoy all this extra sunshine after work!