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Daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 3 this year. Did you know it can take your body (your circadian rhythm) about a week to get used to the new schedule? In the meantime, here are several things you can do to help ease the transition:

Adjust bedtimes

Most adults need 7 or more hours of sleep each night. (Most teens need 8 or more.) Because our circadian rhythms—the “numerous hormones and other body functions that prepare us for the expected times for sleeping, eating, and activity”—cause us to have difficulty adjusting by an entire hour, you can take smaller steps in the days before and after November 3. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest you gradually alter your bedtime by 15-20 minutes each night for the few days before and after daylight savings time. In addition, alter your corresponding wake-up time by the same amount. By doing so, you’ll allow your body to slowly adjust to the time difference.

Drive safer

Studies show a spike in car accidents in the week after daylight savings. (However, studies also show drivers are safer in the long-run, during most months, because of daylight savings.) So, take extra precautions during that week following daylight savings. Talk with your teens, and make sure everyone in your home is getting enough sleep. Sometimes a little extra vigilance and a few extra minutes of sleep can make a huge difference.

Work smarter

The days immediately following daylight savings also show a statistically higher number of workplace accidents and injuries. Just like driving, distracted or tired workers can be dangerous. Talk to your coworkers and employees about staying safe. Anticipate less productivity those first few days. In a short amount of time, people will get back into rhythm.

Listen to your heart

Recent studies (Kirchberger, 2015) showed people men and people with heart disease are at an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the days immediately following a time change.

By taking a few precautions and adjusting your sleep schedule, you can decrease many of the issues associated with daylight savings. From all of us at Horizon Family Medical Group, be safe and stay healthy.