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Daylight Savings

November 13th, 2018


How to Adjust to Daylight Savings

It’s that time of the year again when the seasons change. Maybe that means the leaves are changing colors, the first snowflakes are falling, the trees are blossoming, or the sun is stronger. Aside from the temperature changes and the new wardrobe that goes along with it, many other factors may arise when the seasons change, such as memories and mood shifts (Seasonal Affective Disorder). In particular, there is an overall adjustment to our daily routines and schedules as the clocks change when the seasons change.

What is Daylight Savings?

One of the most obvious and unavoidable changes that occur during the changing of the seasons is daylight savings. Daylight savings is the time when we change the clocks either an hour forward or an hour backward in an effort to make better use of the natural light during the daytime. This happens twice a year: Spring

  • “Spring Ahead”
  • Setting your clock forward in the Spring
  • Lose an hour
  • Days can feel long as it becomes darker, later


  • “Fall Back”
  • Setting your clock backward in the Fall
  • Gain an hour
  • Daytime can feel shorter as it becomes darker, earlier

Why Is It So Hard To Adjust To Daylight Savings?

Due to these scheduled time changes that occur twice a year, we are forced to adjust without choice. Even though the change is only by one hour, it can throw off our circadian rhythms which affect our overall sense of routine and daily life. When our sleep is interrupted it can disrupt our overall health, both physically and mentally.

Why Is It So Hard To Adjust To Daylight Savings?

Mental health risks

    • Memory
    • Ability to grasp concepts
    • Social interactions
    • Cognitive performance
    • Mental fogginess
    • Mood changes
      • Irritability
      • Anger
      • Short temper

Physical health risks

    • Heart attack
      • According to a 2014 University of Colorado study
        • Losing one hour of sleep during Spring, heart attack risks increase by 25%
        • Gaining one hour of sleep during the Fall, heart attack risks decrease by 21%
    • Stroke
      • According to a 2016 American Academy of Neurology study
        • Changing the clocks, either forward or backward can increase the risk of stroke
          • According to USA Today who reviewed the study, “disrupting a person's internal body clock might increase the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, according to researchers. The data showed the risk of ischemic stroke was 8 percent higher two days after a Daylight Saving Time.”
    • Car accidents
      • In the days just after the time changes, there can be a higher risk of vehicle accidents which include fatalities, injuries, and damage to the cars
      • This is due to the mental fogginess people experience from not feeling awake or adjusted to the time change

Complications Associated With Mental & Physical Health Risks

There are further complications that can arise as a result of the mental and physical risks associated with the seasonal time change. Some of these complications can affect other aspects of our lives, causing other issues. These complications might include:

  • Relationship issues
  • Work-related problems
  • Ability to communicate efficiently and effectively
  • Being on time (doctors appointments, meetings, school drop-offs)
  • Daily interactions

How To Make The Adjustment Easier

Since seasonal time change is inevitable and we are forced to adjust twice a year, every year, it is important to find ways to help us cope and adapt easier. Try out some of these ways to help make the transition to the new time change a little bit easier the next time the clocks move forward or back!

  1. Maintain your bedtimes and wake up times as much as possible
  2. Keep your bedtime routine the same in order to help assist your ability to fall asleep easily during the transition period
    1. Dim the lights
    2. Take a hot shower or bath
    3. Read
    4. Journal
    5. Avoid late-night television
    6. Turn off your phone, tablet, or computer
  3. Blackout curtains
    1. Keeps your room pitch dark for the best possible sleep environment
    2. Helps to avoid the light outside as you adjust to its changes; which can affect your bedtime or wake up times
  4. Maintain your scheduled activities at regular times, regardless of daylight
    1. Exercise times
    2. Mealtimes
    3. Driving times
  5. No daytime naps
    1. Avoid sleeping during the day to catch up on any disrupted nighttime sleep during the transition
    2. Even if you are tired during the day, try to stay awake so that you are tired enough to sleep at night
  6. Expose yourself to the outdoor light
    1. Open your curtains and blinds
    2. Go outside during the daytime
  7. Set a reminder in your calendar
    1. Remind yourself in the days leading up to the time change that it is approaching
    2. If possible, plan accordingly for any appointments or activities in the days just after the time change to be scheduled a little later to give yourself some leeway time
    3. Helps to feel more prepared
What is Daylight Savings?

Don’t Worry, It Won’t Last Long

People can often dread the time of the year when both the seasons and time change due to the way that it can affect our lives both mentally and physically. However, even though the initial time change can feel difficult, the transition itself should not last more than a few days. Remind yourself that this shift is brief. The more you can maintain your routine, schedule, and overall sense of daily life, the faster your internal time clock will adjust. Resources:

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