Prepare for End of Daylight Saving Time

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthAs we prepare to fall back this Sunday, Nov. 5th, studies have shown that an inconsistent nighttime routine and lack of sleep as we transition into the new time zone can lead to short-term risk of heart attacks, stroke, traffic accidents, and mood disturbances. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) there are a few tips to help improve health and well-being as we head into the winter months.

Update your clocks in advance
While most smartphones and computers update the time automatically, there are some clocks that you’ll need to change manually. Consider updating the clocks in your home, including those on your microwave, oven and car, before you go to bed on Saturday. This will help ensure that all your clocks have the correct time in the morning. 

Create a nighttime routine
Try to incorporate relaxing activities into a nightly routine that you can enjoy every night before bed. A consistent routine can help signal to your brain that it’s time to start winding down for the day and help you get more restful sleep, which can help ward off the impacts of the time change. For instance, you can take a shower or bath, sip on a cup of sleepy-time tea, read a book (preferrably not on a screen) or listen to a meditation. These types of activities will help your mind and body settle down for the night so you can wake up feeling more refreshed.  

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
It can be tempting to stay up late or change your routine now that you have an “extra hour” in the day. However, disruptions to your sleep patterns can negatively impact your mood, energy levels, concentration and general well-being. The closer you stick to your regular routine of getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night and going to bed and waking up at the same time, the faster your body will adjust to the time change. 

Limit your screen time
Phone and computer screens emit high levels of blue light, which can negatively impact your sleep. This is because blue light affects your circadian rhythm and melatonin (sleep) hormone levels, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. While blue light glasses have become increasingly popular to combat these effects, there is limited research on their effectiveness. Instead, it’s best to limit your screen time before bed or use apps that filter out or block blue light to help you sleep better. Many devices allow you to set a timer, so your screen automatically reduces the amount of blue light at night and returns to normal in the morning. 

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