If you live in the United States (except for Arizona, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), the creepy sleep robbers stole an hour from you on Sunday. And like most of your friends and coworkers, you will be walking around like a zombie for three or four days this week.
Daylight Savings Time (DST) has its good and bad points.
The good news -- people in the northeast get to enjoy more hours of daylight and can kiss that dark and gloomy afternoon commute good-bye for the next eight months.
The bad news -- the one hour of sleep you missed feels more like you partied all night and now you’re paying for it.
If you’re lucky, your boss will be cyberloafing (termed by researchers for the day after DST) and won’t expect much of you for the next day or two.
"Even though we change the time on the clock, our circadian rhythms persist and continue to regulate our sleep on the same 24 hour cycle," explains researcher Christopher Barnes, PhD, an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech University. "Sunday night, people will stay up until their normal bedtime according to their circadian rhythm rather than going to bed an hour earlier to match the clock change."
You’ll get that hour of sleep back in November, but in the meantime, here are a few tips to help survive the first few days of DST:
1. Turn in an hour earlier. This may be a tough adjustment because your circadian rhythm has been thrown off, but you’ll probably be sleepy from cyberloafing all day at work.
2. Have a turkey sandwich before bed. The body needs tryptophan to produce serotonin, which makes melatonin, a hormone that helps your body’s clock back on track. Tryptophan is not only in turkey, but other poultry and meat as well as cheese, yogurt, fish and eggs.
3. Be careful on the road. Because you may have a sleepy commute this week, try to take extra caution while driving. Remember that everybody else is sleepy, too. Drink that extra cup of coffee or better yet, use public transportation if possible.
4. Take it easy at work. If you work around machinery or any other job where you can hurt yourself or somebody else, see if you can work on something less likely to cause a job-related accident. Loss of sleep can cause lack of judgment, so be mindful that you may be less then mindful this week.
5. Hold off on decision-making. When you’re foggy-headed or drowsy, your assessment skills may be inaccurate. Unless you are forced to make a decision this week, hold off until you are more rested. If you have a hair appointment scheduled for a drastic color change or you are thinking of going for a new pixie-style, call and cancel. You’ll be much happier if you wait a week.
Keep in mind that Daylight Savings Time provides you with more sunshine for eight whole months. Isn’t that worth losing an hour of sleep?
Weather.com – lifestyle - How "Springing Forward" Hits Workers Monday. Web. 12, March, 2012 http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/daylight-saving-time-cyberloafing_2012-03-09
Huffington Post – Healthy Living - Daylight Saving Time 2012: Could 'Springing Forward' Hurt Your Health? Web. 12, March, 2012
WebMD – Health & Cooking - The Truth About Tryptophan. Web. 12, March 2012 http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-tryptophan
Reviewed March 12, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jessica Obert