5 Tips for Counteracting The Effects of Daylight Saving Time

By Emily Murray

As the  first few days of the work week pass with the new daylight saving time in place, many people are still stuck somewhere between the old time and the new. Perhaps one hour doesn’t feel like a lot, but for many it might be enough to throw their internal clock out of whack resulting in sleep deprivation among other health problems.

This concept was recently explored in a TIME Healthland article by Meredith Melnick. While the author sites sources explaining that most people cope with the time change fairly well, they also warn that for those with depression or a heart problem, the change can be slightly more significant. In fact, statistically, daylight saving time  results in an elevated number of heart attacks and suicides. So what can you do to help ease the anxiety and  get back to a normal sleeping pattern? Here are a five tricks for getting back on track.

1. Exercise
This concept is a pretty simple one, but as anyone who has started a new workout program knows, you are bound to be pretty excited about crawling into bed at night after a hard work out. The “feel good” chemicals that are released when exercising (endorphins) also contribute to a more positive mental state and is often effective (in addition to therapy) for those who suffer from depression.

Read: Study Reveals the Benefits of Exercise for Those Suffering from Insomnia

2. Read Before Bed
Reading in bed is an instant snooze trigger for many people and if you are not accustomed to it and are having difficulty sleeping, it may be worth a try. The material you choose to read however should also be thought out ahead of time. Perhaps, save those “can’t-put-the-book-down-until-I-have-read-every-page,” type novels for the daytime, but if you have something that is not as interesting to read, give it a try! Just avoid any stressful thrillers or horror novels before bed!

3. Stop Napping
If you aren’t sleeping well at night, chances are you are  probably pretty groggy during the day. While it may be tempting to curl up in bed mid-afternoon, it’s best to wait and go to bed at your normal target time. When you snooze throughout the day, you are throwing off your body’s natural sleeping schedule and you need to train yourself to get back on course.

4. Avoid Caffeine
If you are currently in the habit of  having a cup of coffee after dinner or soda with your meal, start cutting back your caffeine intake, especially towards the afternoon and evening hours.

5. Avoid sleeping with the Television on
This may seem like a trivial point, but many studies have now shown that those who sleep with the TV on can be negatively impacted by the light while they sleep and in some cases it can even contribute to obesity.

Read: Heart Health is Affected by Too Much TV

If you are still having sleeping difficulties and it is affecting your day-to-day performance, speak with a doctor to make sure you are following a healthy plan for your body.

Does anyone have any tricks of their own to help fall asleep?