By Katy Duncan, Contributing Blogger
It’s heerreee. I’m not talking about Poltergeist..but it may as well be because it’s daylight saving time and it’s coming for us. Equally spooky.
Daylight saving time can be a little challenging for us as humans. Just when we’re getting into a rhythm and our sleep schedule has adjusted to us turning the clocks forward earlier in the year, it’s now time to turn them back. Ugh!
I empathize with all of you out here who are struggling with daylight saving time. And for those of you who aren’t impacted by it-I think I speak for everyone when I say, “I envy you.”
If you’re having a hard time with the time change, I got you covered. Keep on readin’ to learn all about daylight saving time (DST) and how to survive it.
Who Does Daylight Saving Time Impact?
Not everyone has to experience daylight saving time and there are even several states who are trying to abolish this clock-changing-frenzy all together-to those trying to rid our world of daylight saving time, I say, “Thank you!”
In the United States, both Hawaii and Arizona have said, “See you never” to DST. Guam, Puerto Rico and other American territories have also opted out of this tradition. So who does this leave left? Pretty much everyone else in the continental U.S.
What Does Daylight Saving Time Do to Our Sleep Cycle?
The whole reason daylight saving time came to be in the first place was to try and help our bodies experience more daylight hours by pulling an hour from the morning (when it’s typically darker and people are sleeping) and moving it to the evening so we have more daylight to work with. While this sounds like a great idea in theory, it actually wrecks havoc on our circadian rhythm.
When our bodies are experiencing more evening light than morning light, it can make it hard for us to fall asleep when we need to. Our bodies naturally want to mirror and match the schedule of the sun and changing this can leave us feeling tired and mentally checked out. In extreme cases, this disruption to our sleep cycle can trigger more intense effects of depression, anxiety, and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
How Can You Survive Daylight Saving Time?
Now we know daylight saving time is NOT passing the vibe check. What can we do about it?
To combat how dark it will be in the mornings, getting a wake up light or an extra lamp you can turn on promptly when you wake up will be helpful. The more light you can expose yourself to when you first wake up, the easier time your body will have adapting to this new sun cycle.
Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself rest when you need to rest and make an effort to match the sun's daylight hours as opposed to the funky schedule DST wants you to have. By going to bed earlier and waking up as late as you can (with your wake up light of course), you may be able to mimic the effects of a normal sun cycle and make it less impactful to your circadian rhythm.
It can take approximately a week or two to fully adjust to Daylight Saving Time when it happens so plan accordingly. Any late night plans or early morning commitments will no doubt be more challenging at this time and if you can skip them, it may be in your body's best interest to do so.
While most of us can’t do anything to stop daylight saving time right now, being active in your state's government can help change the tides instead of changing the clocks. The more people that make efforts to remove daylight saving time from our bi-annual routine, the more likely it’ll actually happen.
If Hawaii and Arizona can do it, the rest of us can too!