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Daylight saving time: tips on how to adapt and not harm your health

If you are not tired of the political situation, the crisis, and the coronavirus, you can congratulate yourself: this Sunday you will sleep an hour less. March 8, US residents need to shift the clock one hour ahead - this is the switch to daylight saving time, reports NBC News.

Photo: shutterstock

The lost hour is not so much, but this is enough to create a health risk. Studies have shown that fatal accidents more often occur on Monday during the switch to daylight saving time, and the likelihood of a heart attack and ischemic stroke increases.

The most common problem associated with daylight saving time is fatigue and just a feeling of discomfort. This, as Beth Malow, MD, professor and director of the department for the treatment of sleep disorders at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center explains, boils down to the fact that “our circadian clock is no longer regulated. Some people are more sensitive than others because of genetics and age (young people usually adapt better). “Like different people react differently to changing time zones.”

On the subject: How time conversion affects health and what to do to adapt faster

We've put together a list of expert tips on how to prepare for daylight saving time so that you hardly notice the transition and, more importantly, don't fall asleep at your desktop on Monday.

On the eve of the clock, set your own sleep and wake time

The main trick in preparing for summer time is to shift the sleep mode by one hour before moving the clock. You can achieve this by going to bed earlier and earlier, as well as waking up earlier.

“Try going to bed and waking up 15-20 minutes earlier a few days before moving the time, and then another 15-20 minutes earlier (just 30-40 minutes earlier from the time of your usual sleep schedule). This will help your body switch to a new mode more smoothly, and not suddenly. " - says Malow.

Cheer yourself up with an extra cup of coffee

Caffeine can wake us up like nothing else, but this quick fix can be expensive. The more coffee (or other caffeinated substances such as soda) you drink during the day, the more you run the risk of disturbing your sleep patterns.

“Caffeine can help with the drowsiness we feel, but to avoid falling asleep, stay away from any caffeine at least four hours before bedtime,” recommends Dr. Andrew Styem, MD, a specialist in lung medicine and sleep at Allina Health's United.

Do not eat much at night and do not drink alcohol before bedtime

Alcohol causes drowsiness, so it may seem like a good idea to use it before bedtime, but this will only increase sleep problems.

“Although alcohol will help you fall asleep, the quality of sleep will be significantly affected,” says Dr. Styem, who recommends refraining from drinking at a later time and avoiding large portions of food or snacks before bedtime.

“Think about light snacks like bananas, almonds, or oatmeal,” he advises.

Sunlight and exercise will help you get used to it.

Try to stay in the sunlight longer during daylight hours. This will help your body get used to the clock.

“When exposed to sunlight, the eye sends messages to the brain, the production of the sleep hormone melatonin is suppressed,” says Hermona Sorek, a neurologist and professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Samantha Virk, MD, neurologist and founder of the telemedicine company MediSprout, recommends going out and staying as long as possible in the daylight, “because it helps your body suppress melatonin, the chemical in your body that causes sleep. This will make your sleep cycle delay until the right time. ”

If it’s too cold for a long stay outdoors, turn on the lightbox.

“Using lightboxes can also help you lie down later, and regular daily exercise in the morning will always be useful, as they help you wake up,” explains Pradeep Ballu, MD, neurologist, director of the Center for Sleep Disorders, and professor at the University of Missouri.

20-minute daytime sleep for your benefit

No matter how well prepared for summer time, you can still be quite sleepy on Sunday.

It is best to get up early on Sunday and then get some sleep during the day.

“Resist the urge to fall asleep on Sunday and do not allow yourself to sleep an hour longer in the morning,” warns Dr. Ballou. - If you have daytime sleepiness, allow yourself a short sleep (about 20 minutes). Just make sure that you do not oversleep at the same time until the evening. "

Professional tips to help children adapt to daylight saving time

It’s one thing to prepare yourself for summer time, and it’s quite another to see how your children adapt.

Bobby Joe Hopkins, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital, shares the following tips for children and teens.

No gadgets an hour before bedtime. In the evening, place a blue light blocker on all electronic devices to help release melatonin.

Since children and adolescents may have difficulty getting to bed early and waking up earlier, simplify the morning routine by preparing everything you need for school the night before. Put shoes at the door, lay out clothes, prepare breakfast, pack a backpack, etc.

Even if the children "lose" an hour of sleep, try not to let them doze during the day, so that they fall asleep more easily the next night.

Note for people caring for people with Alzheimer's

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia, it’s important to help them adapt to the clock.

“Because people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia often get used to a regular daily routine, daylight saving time can be especially difficult,” warns Maria Carrillo, principal researcher at the Alzheimer's Association.

People living with these diseases often experience increasing confusion and excitement, starting at dusk and continuing through the night.

The Alzheimer's Association recommends that persons caring for such patients help them to fully rest, do not pull them in the evening, and illuminate the house well in the evening and early in the morning.

On the subject: Technology vs health: how to effectively control the use of electronic devices by children

Is Vitamin D Good for Daylight Saving

It is believed that an extra dose of vitamin D from another hour of evening sunlight should be beneficial for us. But not so simple. Doctors report that every time the clock is set to daylight saving time, 24% more patients with heart attacks are brought to them. The frequency of injuries in the workplace also increases the day after the clock is transferred, as employees receive an average of 40 minutes less sleep the night before.

Studies have even shown that switching to daylight saving time can lead to a short-term increase in episodes of depression. Car accidents also occur more often, people become irritable, and many have headaches. Therefore, at first glance, the transition to summer time does not have a very good effect on people's health.

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