How does losing an hour of sleep affect our internal clock?
Because time is shifting forward, your sleep may be cut short by one hour Saturday night. You may try getting to bed a little earlier than usual and avoid staying up late. For the days following Daylight Saving, keeping your regular schedule, such as mealtimes, physical activities, and wakeup time, will help your body begin using these cues to adjust your internal clock to the time change.
How will later sunrises affect sleep?
Daylight is actually the most important cue for setting our internal clock at the beginning of the day. Getting about 15-30 minutes of sunlight exposure in the early morning can help us synch our clock to the time change faster. Also, if you’re having trouble adapting to the time change, try to limit sunlight exposure in the evening hours by wearing dark shades.
How will the time change affect our brain function?
You could possibly experience symptoms similar to jet lag. Some people are sensitive to even small shifts in their schedule and they may experience mental fogginess, decreased attention span, and even some mild mood disturbances, such as irritability. Fortunately, for most of us, an hour is a small enough change and something that we can easily adapt to.
Are there any safety concerns?
Be especially vigilant while driving. Driving while sleep-deprived or sleepy can be dangerous. Make sure you are fit to drive before getting behind the wheel of the car.
What are some ways we can adjust to the time change?
For most of us, after a small time shift, our bodies naturally adjust our internal clocks by 15 or 30 minutes per day. This means that we’ll be back on track in just a few days. But to help this process along, keeping usual daytime routines of wakeup times, mealtimes, and exercise is all that is needed. But as I mentioned earlier, daylight plays a big role, so now might be a good time to enjoy a little bit of exercise with a morning walk around the block. It’s really a 2-for-1 deal. Get your biological clock back on track and get a little bit of exercise while you’re at it!