There are many great things about fall: fun fall activities (pumpkin patches and apple picking, etc.), beautiful weather (if everyday was like today-high of 73 and sunny), fun holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. However, one thing I really do not care for about fall is the dreaded "fall back" of daylight savings time (DLS). In the short term, this weekend is great-you get an extra hour of sleep (oh no wait, if you're a parent of young children this doesn't even apply). But even if you do get to enjoy the extra hour, as soon as 5pm rolls around on Sunday, I bet you are already thinking that extra hour isn't worth the dark evenings for the next 5 months. At least, that's what I will be thinking. It's harder to get through your day knowing it will be dark when you come home from work. Daylight savings time has been shown to impact our circadian rhythms, which can in turn have adverse effects on our mood, sleep, and hormone levels (NAMI). If you already have depressive symptoms or another mood disorder, your chances of experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder can also increase in response to DLS (NAMI). Less sunlight can cause decreased mood, loss of energy, increased anxiety, increased irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Fertility, energy, sociability, and weight can also be impacted by the shifts in our schedules brought on by DLS. So, what can we do about it?
First-try to start backing up your routine for you AND YOUR KIDS a few days ahead of time.
Secondly-try to open your blinds upon waking and begin your exposure to sunlight as soon as possible.
Thirdly-try to maintain your normal routine as much as possible, in terms of the sequence of your day.
Additionally it it helpful to:
-Follow normal sleep hygiene tips-such as avoiding caffeine or naps close to bedtime, even if you feel groggier than normal on Sunday or the days following.
Cut yourself some slack the first few days following the time change. You may be more tired than normal-which is to be expected, as your body works hard to adjust to a new schedule.