How Long Does It Take for Your Body to Adjust to Daylight Saving Time
For most people, it can take a day to a week to adjust to daylight savings time changes. However, this varies from person to person

For most people, it can take a day to a week to adjust to daylight savings time changes. However, this varies from person to person.

Being out in the sun and air during spring can help you adjust more quickly. Learn about daylight saving time and 8 tips that can help you deal with it.

What is daylight saving time?

Daylight saving time (DST) is the annual practice of moving the clock forward by one hour in the spring and back one hour in the fall to make better use of natural daylight. Less than 40% of countries in the world use DST.

Most of the United States begins DST at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday of November.

How does daylight saving time affect your health?

Time changes can affect a person depending on their sleep habits, lifestyle, and overall health. 

According to researchers, the long-standing practice of losing or gaining one hour of sleep may be detrimental to most people’s health. Daylight saving time can disrupt your circadian rhythm (24-hour natural cycle), which can have negative effects on your health, causing:

  • Irritability
  • Low mood
  • Fatigue
  • Grogginess
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Impaired concentration
  • Increased risk of illness
  • Increased risk of heart attacks
  • Increased risk of fatal vehicle accidents

8 tips for dealing with daylight saving time

  1. Prepare ahead of time before the time changes: Go to bed at least 15-30 minutes earlier than your normal bedtime. Be mentally prepared for the loss of an hour and manage your daily routine accordingly so you can go to bed earlier to compensate for the loss of an hour,
  2. Maintain your daily schedule: Stick to your regular routine of mealtimes, working out, socializing, etc. 
  3. Avoid taking long naps: Try not to take long naps (over 20 minutes) during the daytime. Longer naps may make it harder for you to sleep during the night.
  4. Avoid or limit coffee intake: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages can hamper sleep quality. Avoid caffeine at least 4-6 hours before going to bed.
  5. Avoid or limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so try to limit alcohol consumption late in the evening.
  6. Follow good sleep hygiene: Avoid vigorous exercise before bedtime, eat a light early dinner, and stay away from electronic devices before going to bed. Sleep is triggered by a hormone called melatonin. High-intensity light emitted by electronic devices hinders melatonin and disrupts sleep patterns.
  7. Create a sleep-friendly environment: Sleep hygiene techniques such as relaxation rituals, hot baths, and wearing earplugs can help with falling asleep, staying asleep, and improving sleep quality.
  8. Take your medications on time: If you are on a short course of sleep or antianxiety medications, take them as advised by your doctor.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/4/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Daylight Saving Time: 4 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust. Cleveland Clinic: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/daylight-savings-time-change-4-tips-to-help-your-body-adjust/

Michael Breus. How Sleep is Affected by Time Changes. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/coping-with-time-changes