Daylight Saving Time’s Impact on Wellness

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The annual switch between standard and daylight savings time in the United States is aimed at maximizing daylight hours. However, the upcoming time change on November 5th, where clocks will be set back an hour, may have negative impacts on mental health and cognitive function. The body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep, mood, and appetite, can be disrupted by DST, leading to several days or even a week of adjustment to the new schedule. This can result in sleep deprivation and associated symptoms such as grogginess, irritability, and lack of focus. Furthermore, DST can exacerbate existing mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Here are a few adjustments that can be made in your daily life to ease the transition out of Daylight Savings Time. 

  • Change your sleep schedule by gradually altering your bedtime and wake up time the week leading up to time change. For example, you could go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for a week to slowly work up to an hour difference. 
  • Take naps during the day to make up for lost time. 
  • Avoid using technology right before bed. Try reading a book, mediating, or journaling instead. 
  • Exercise during the day to naturally tire your body. 

Allow yourself time to adapt to the end of Daylight Savings Time and offer assistance to your loved ones as they cope with similar difficulties.