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Daylight Savings Effect on Health

daylight

Once a year, every year, as the winter days get longer, millions across Canada turn to their clocks to watch it advance by an hour — or sleep through it. This practice of time change, known as Daylight Savings Time, allows for more light in the summer evening hours by essentially moving an hour of daylight from morning to evening. Unfortunately for many, the jump from 2:00AM to 3:00AM takes away from precious sleeping hours that leaves many sporting an extra large coffee the next morning. This is a result of the shift in the body’s 24- hour internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which responds to light as an official indicator for time.

Also known as the sleep/wake cycle, the circadian rhythm cycles between states of sleepiness and alertness, depending on the time and light exposure of the day. When the clocks are moved in either direction, our circadian rhythm becomes disrupted and mismatched with our current day & night cycle. This time change ultimately affects one’s health, resulting in altered sleep patterns. It is worth noting, however, that the degree to which one’s health is affected is dependent on individual habits, lifestyles and personal health. This raises the question of how you will feel during this transition, and what can be done to smoothly adapt to Daylight Savings Time?

Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, the lost hour of sleep will cause a disruption in your circadian rhythm. As a general rule of thumb, it takes one day to adjust to the time change. During this time, one may experience feelings of daytime sleepiness, diminished concentration and lower overall performance. However, if one prioritizes getting seven to eight hours of sleep the night before, one can wake up feeling energized and well-rested despite the time change. Furthermore, one should avoid caffeine and alcohol on the night before as they can also affect one’s circadian rhythm, which would ultimately make the Daylight Savings transition more difficult.

Whilst the switch to Daylight Savings remains to be one of the tougher times of the year, there are plenty of preemptive steps one can take to reduce the effects, and ensure a smooth transition.

PS: Check out our healthy living articles HERE!