Did you wake up feeling groggy yesterday? Chances are most
of us did, and not just because it was Monday. Yesterday we lost an hour thanks
to Daylight Savings Time (DST). On Sunday March 11, 2012, we sprung our clocks
forward an hour just like we do every spring in order to make the most of the
Daylight Savings Time showed up during the First World War to extend the amount
of daylight hours as a way to preserve energy. Some countries have never used
DST, others have dropped it completely. But here in most of Canada, and most of
the United States, we still go through the bi-yearly change.
You might think losing one hour of sleep wouldn’t make a significant impact,
but according to many sleep experts, losing an hour sleep can have some pretty
severe consequences. In fact the change has been blamed for an increased risk
of heart attacks in the week following DST (the risk decreases in the fall by
the same amount). A 6-17% increase in traffic accidents has been observed on
the days following DST. And workers also report more on-the-job injuries on the
Monday after DTS.
There is no concrete reason why this happens, just that our bodies may be more
sensitive to this change than we initially thought. Of course sensitivity will
vary from person to person, and is usually based onpersonal health, sleep
habits and lifestyle.
So based on the above, we assumed the best and safest thing to do on the Monday
after Daylight Savings is to stay in bed. But sadly, that’s not correct. Follow
these simple rules and your circadian rhythm should be back to normal within a
* Try to get in 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day like a brisk walk to
elevate your heart rate.
* Get as much light as possible during the day, then when it’s dark out, avoid
bright lights (like TVs and computers).
* Eat foods high in tryptophan like bananas, nuts or milk.
For overall health and a better night’s sleep, get yourself into a regular
sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene, including reducing caffeine and
alcohol before bed, exercising several hours before bed, and creating calming
rituals likebaths or reading before bed. You’ll be feeling and sleeping better
in no time!
Robert Jackson is a freelance journalist who writes about Sleeping Disorder, .For
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