Daylight saving time (DST) falls on the first Sunday in November each year, meaning daylight savings is just around the corner on November 5, 2023. As the clocks “fall back,” it can be difficult for our bodies and minds to adjust, as there is a considerable difference between the “societal clock” and our “biological clocks.”
Dahl Consulting (DAHL) recognizes the importance of the health and well-being of our employees, clients, and workforce. In order to help educate and encourage all of the individuals we have the pleasure of working with, we regularly share helpful safety tips and tricks. In this article, we will cover the health impacts that fall daylight savings has on your health as well as tips for adjusting.
Fall DST is less hard on our bodies than spring daylight saving time and offers pros and cons to our health.
Daylight in the morning is great for our bodies, as it helps to regulate your sleep schedule, reduce stress, and even strengthen your immune system. With more sunlight in the mornings, it is much easier to catch some vitamin D-infused rays prior to the morning commute.
Similarly, a better sleep schedule also has multiple health benefits. According to Verywell Health, here are ten benefits that coincide with getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night:
- Better Heart Health
- Regulated Blood Sugar
- Reduced Stress
- Decreased Inflammation
- Help Maintaining a Healthy Weight
- Improved Balance
- Increased Energy
- Improved Memory
- Better Executive Function (problem-solving, planning, decision-making)
- Repaired Tissues
It goes without saying that these benefits can be a positive contributing factor to your overall health. However, despite the benefits of daylight savings that we covered, there are also some negative impacts to turning back our clocks.
According to some health studies, changes in waking time coupled with the earlier onset of darkness can throw off our body’s natural circadian rhythm, and it may take several days or more to readjust to this new schedule. This can lead to grogginess and fatigue despite actually gaining an extra hour of sleep. According to clinical sleep psychologist Michael Breus, one way to tell if your body is sleep deprived is if you still wake up at your “regular” time after getting that extra hour. If you wake up prior to your alarm, this simply means that your sleep patterns are healthy.
Colder weather, coupled with the loss of daylight hours in the evening, can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, SAD may cause people to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours. In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. These feelings can be hard to deal with, but light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications can help.
Given that the end of daylight saving time can potentially cause sleepiness, it can also pose more safety risks if you are less alert. It is important to keep this in mind and make a conscious effort to be more cautious at work and at home. There are several other tips that you can use to help make the transition easier on your body.
Tips for Adjusting
Adjusting to DST can be a struggle whether the clocks are “springing forward” or “falling back.” Below are some pointers to help you handle this change with grace.
- Wake Up at a Normal Time – While it may be tempting to take advantage of the extra hour by either staying up later or sleeping in, this may leave you feeling out of sorts as the work week begins. It’s best to maintain a healthy and consistent sleep schedule.
- Eat well and Exercise – Eating well and exercising will benefit you at any time during the year, but taking extra good care of your body as you adjust to the new daylight hours can save you from feeling under the weather. Generally, exercising will improve your sleep schedule, especially if you can exercise outdoors, as sunlight exposure will help your body maintain a proper circadian rhythm. With that being said, also make sure that you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, as exercising leads to a higher core body temperature, increased heart rate, and increased alertness that can make it difficult to go to bed on time.
- Create an Optimal Sleeping Environment – Creating a comfortable sleeping environment will help you not only fall asleep but also stay asleep during the night. Opting for a dark, cool, and quiet room and limiting blue light exposure prior to bedtime will improve your sleep. It can also be helpful to create a nighttime ritual to help your body wind down and prepare for bed.
We hope that these tips can help you to transition into the fall feeling well-rested and healthy. DAHL knows how important it is to keep your workforce healthy and safe. In addition to sharing safety tips, we also share additional industry insights to help your organization stay informed and up-to-date with the latest news.
If you’re looking to get connected with an employment expert to grow your workforce this fall, get in touch with us today!