Spring Ahead – How to Combat the Effects of the Time Change


Daylight-saving time change is this Sunday, March 9th, 2014 where we will move our clocks ahead 1 hour. In general the “spring ahead” is more difficult for our body’s to adjust to then “falling back” because it means 1 less hour of sleep. Moving our clocks in either direction changes the principal time cue (light) for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle, or circadian rhythm. Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin and therefore affects the body’s internal clock.This internal clock regulates a number of critical biological processes, including hormone production, brain wave activity, and cell regeneration, during the course of a day. Any time shift in the sleep schedule—whether it results from time changes, travel between time zones, shift work, or changes in routine or medications—disrupts these chronobiological rhythms that influence the quality and duration of sleep. If an individual is well-rested, this small hour change in the sleep routine can leave one feeling temporarily sleep deprived. If an individual is already sleep-deprived, the time change will cause a much greater issue by compounding an existing problem.Sleep is a critical part of our lives, and fatigue can be dangerous. Tiredness impacts reaction time, judgment, behaviour and vision. As a general rule, we need approximately 6.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep.

Here are a few tips to help minimize any issues associated with this weekend’s time change:
·         Have a fixed bedtime and wake-up time.
·         Avoid napping during the day.
·         Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine right before bed.
·         Avoid eating heavy, spicy, or sugary food before bed.
·         Get regular exercise—but not right before bed.
·         Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
·         Avoid using your bedroom as a workroom.
·         Turn off electronics thirty to sixty minutes before bedtime.

Please drive safe Monday morning! Research shows a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents to morning after the time change!