Daylight Savings Time (DST) means you lose one hour of sleep in the spring, but gain an hour in the fall. But is this seasonal occurrence good for you? Research suggests that maybe not so much. In fact, according to Science Daily, there is “25 percent jump in the number of heart attacks occurring the Monday after we ‘spring forward’ compared to other Mondays during the year…”  Inflammatory diseases may be linked to disrupted circadian rhythms like daylight saving time.  Due to potential sleep deprivation from an hour less of sleep, there has been a noted increase in work-related and road accidents, which are likely from poor motor performance and mental acuity.   Interestingly, a 1998 Canadian study found that there’s a seven percent increase in fatal traffic accidents on the Monday morning following the springtime move to daylight savings time.  Stanley Cohen, University of British Columbia sleep expert, suggests though that “although daylight saving time causes an initial hazard [on the Monday proceeding it], in the end, there is a life-saving benefit.” 
“An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.” — Winston Churchill
With DST’s “Spring Ahead” this weekend, it might be wise to prepare your body for it, rather than encounter the known effects of being sleep deprived:
- brain fog
- lack of mental alertness/acuity
- hunger cravings
- mood swings
- poor motor performance
Quotable: Springing ahead” might be bad for your health.
Keys to Preparing for Time Changes — Daylight Saving Time (DST)
Tip #1 — Hydrate
After sleeping for seven-plus hours, your body is dehydrated. Upon rising, grab a glass of water. Even better, add juice from half of a freshly squeezed lemon to it. Why? Lemon water wakes up your liver and helps with bile production to aid in fat digestion. Furthermore, drinking water and maintaining adequate hydration helps you be more energized and perks your performance levels such as improved memory recall, mood, and motor coordination.
Tip #2 — “Me” Time
How many times do rush out the door, especially after losing one hour of sleep for daylight saving time? Probably most of you. Instead of rushing out the door, pause for ten minutes for a little “me” time. That’s right, pause, breathe deeply and practice gratitude. Your mental attitude will set your day to one of greater happiness, improved attitude, and reduced stress levels. Win-win for you and everyone you come into contact with.
Tip #3 — Eat Breakfast
Do you eat breakfast? You probably know you should. I use to be a non-breakfast-eater, which usually resulted in binge eating in the afternoon, intense cravings for sugary things, and hopping a ride on the sugar rollercoaster. You can alleviate this unenjoyable ride by eating a little protein, some fibre, and healthy fat in the morning before you head out the door. Including these nutrients in your breakfast choices can result in sustained energy for improved brain and body performance. And who doesn’t want that?
Tip #4 — Bath in the Light
Get some bright morning light to halt the production of melatonin, your sleep and darkness hormone, and increase your serotonin, your “happy” and daylight hormone. Your 24-hour natural body clock, also called your circadian rhythm, determines your wake-sleep cycle. Daylight Saving Time wreaks havoc on your body’s natural cycle by changing your principal time cue — light — and causing it to be out of sync or mismatched with your current day-night cycle. Allow the daylight and the sounds of the morning to stimulate and wake the brain. This helps to reset your body clock and ensures that your melatonin levels remain on ‘awake’ until the evening. Ensure adequate exposure to daylight by spending time outside during the day, as well. By doing so, helps your body to regulate your day-night natural cycle on your brain.
Tip #5 — Healthy Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe those rituals you take to create a sleep-friendly environment, which ultimately enhances your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and sleep soundly. Keeping a regular bedtime and wake time helps. As well, a dark and cool bedroom helps you sleep through the night. Personally, I enjoy an evening Epsom salt bath before turning out the lights. The magnesium helps to calm me for sleep and removes toxins that have built up during the day. Although there is no scientific evidence that certain diets will actually influence your circadian rhythm, carbohydrates tend to make it easier to fall asleep.
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 “Daylight saving impacts timing on heart attacks,” American College of Cardiology, March 29, 2014, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140329175108.htm.
 “Disruption of circadian rhythms may contribute to inflammatory disease,” Rush University Medical Centre, May 21, 2014, https://www.rush.edu/news/press-releases/disruption-circadian-rhythms-may-contribute-inflammatory-disease.
 Amy Nordrum, “Daylight Saving Time: Why The Monday After Springing Forward Is A Deadly Day,” 03-09-2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/daylight-saving-time-why-monday-after-springing-forward-deadly-day-1840534
 Tuuli A. Lahti et al, “Daylight saving time transitions and hospital treatments due to accidents or manic episodes,” BMC Public Health. 2008; 8: 74, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2266740/
 Stanley Coren, “Sleep Deficit, Fatal Accidents, and the Spring Shift to Daylight Savings Time,” McMaster University, 1998, http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/occupational/coren0164/two.html
 CBC News, “End of daylight saving time 2015: 6 eye-opening facts,” October 31, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/end-of-daylight-saving-time-2015-6-eye-opening-facts-1.3296353