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How Daylight Savings Impacts Your Mind and Body

Moving the clock forward or backward one hour may not sound too drastic, but it can have a noticeable impact on your daily schedule and internal clock. When we spring forward an hour, you lose an hour of sleep, causing grogginess or irritability. As we fall back an hour, the extra hour of sleep sounds enticing, but your body becomes confused by this disruption, causing changes to your sleep, appetite, and mood. So, as the clocks change, it’s important to know what impacts you the most and prepare accordingly.

Mood and productivity

Franciscan Health shares how daylight saving time transitions often lead to disrupted sleep cycles. When springing forward, the body needs to adjust to going to sleep earlier, which may leave people restless at night and sleepy the next day.

This disturbance to your normal sleep schedule can also create an emotional imbalance which can result in lapse of judgment. This is seen more in individuals who work full time with little time to adjust and adapt to the change in their sleep schedule.

Health and wellness

Any amount of sleep deprivation can affect the hormone levels in the body, which can lead to changes in appetite, an increase in cravings, and potential overeating. There can also be higher risks of heart attacks, miscarriages, or vehicular accidents due to disruptions in routines and sleep schedules.

How can you adjust?

UT Southwestern Medical Center provides a few tips for acclimating your mind and body into daylight savings:

  • Make a gradual shift – Consider making slight sleep adjustments a few days before the time changes.
  • Stick to your sleep schedule – Try to keep things as normal as possible. Get up and go to bed at your normal times. The same goes for your other daily routines, such as eating and exercising.
  • Maintain a good sleep routine – Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, unplugging yourself from electronics an hour before bed, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evenings, and not exercising too close to bedtime. 
  • Get some sun – Spending time outdoors during daylight hours, even if it’s only for a quick walk over lunch, can help stimulate your body and get your energy levels up.

These are just a few ways to help your mind and body slowly ease into the changes that come from losing or gaining an hour of your day. Sometimes these changes in seasons and your routine are overwhelming and can leave you feeling anxious or depressed. If you are experiencing any of these feelings, you can connect with Valley Oaks Health and take part in counseling sessions to explore these feelings and find healthy ways to cope.

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