I Hate You Daylight Saving Time

Now that we have that out of the way.

Hello there! It’s your friendly neighborhood reminder to set your clock ahead this coming weekend. While you’re here I’d like to share some insights about the infamous Daylight Saving Time (DST) and how you can avoid the duldrems of the time change.

The modern concept of DST was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, in an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” Franklin suggested that people could save money on candles by waking up earlier in the morning to take advantage of the natural light. In more recent times, the idea behind this is to make better use of daylight and save energy. However, DST can have a significant impact on our mental health, particularly in the days following the clock change.

Research has shown that the sudden shift in sleep patterns caused by DST can disrupt our circadian rhythm, or our internal body clock. This can lead to a range of mental health issues, including:

  1. Increased stress levels: Losing an hour of sleep can leave us feeling groggy and irritable, making it harder to deal with stress. Studies have found that the Monday following the switch to DST is associated with a higher number of workplace injuries, traffic accidents, and heart attacks.
  2. Poor concentration: When we’re tired, it’s harder to focus and concentrate. This can make it difficult to complete tasks or even to make decisions. Studies have found that the switch to DST can lead to a temporary decrease in cognitive performance.
  3. Mood changes: Sleep disruption can also affect our mood. Research has shown that people are more likely to experience depression and anxiety following the switch to DST. This is especially true for people who already struggle with these conditions.
  4. Disrupted sleep patterns: Even after our bodies adjust to the new time, DST can disrupt our sleep patterns. This is because our bodies are naturally programmed to wake up when it gets light outside. When we set our clocks forward, we may be waking up before our bodies are ready, leading to feelings of fatigue and sleepiness throughout the day.

So what can we do to mitigate the negative effects of DST? Here are a few tips:

  1. Ease into the time change: If possible, start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before the switch to DST. Go to bed and wake up 15 minutes earlier each day until you’ve reached the new time.
  2. Stick to a sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body clock and improve the quality of your sleep.
  3. Get plenty of sunlight: Exposure to sunlight in the morning can help reset your body clock and improve your mood. Try to spend some time outside each day, especially in the morning.
  4. Practice good sleep hygiene: Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, keep your bedroom cool and dark, and avoid electronic devices before bedtime.

DST can have a significant impact on our mental health, causing stress, poor concentration, mood changes, and disrupted sleep patterns. By taking steps to adjust to the time change and practicing good sleep hygiene, we can mitigate these effects and maintain our mental wellbeing.

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