It’s time to change time. In most locations in the US, we move our clocks ahead one hour tomorrow, Sunday, March 13, 2011. Daylight Saving Time. Seems pretty straightforward. But for our finely tuned, light-calibrated bodies, it’s enough to throw off your game for several days – or longer. It’s like flying in place. Jet lag without going anywhere.
Studies have shown increases in heart attacks, traffic and workplace accidents, depression, and suicides when we move to daylight saving time – though it is not clear if there is a direct correlation. Whatever the studies say, most of us have firsthand experience with what a shift in our sleep pattern can do to our mood, cognitive ability, performance and productivity.
Here are some practical tips to cushion the shock of that “spring forward” and help your body adjust to its new local time zone:
Spend some time outdoors in natural light – especially in the morning – on Saturday, Sunday and, if possible, for the first few days after the change. Apparently, this helps the circadian rhythm of the body acclimate to the shift in time.