Many Australians will be winding their clocks forward on Sunday for daylight savings. One hour loss of sleep doesn’t seem like much, but it can take most people several days to adjust. Like jet lag, it throws out your body’s natural rhythm.
Surprisingly, this one-hour change in time comes with health and safety risks. Paul Zimmet, Professor of Diabetes at Monash University says, “In terms of the scientific evidence, there are more heart attacks just after daylight saving, more road accidents, and then you’ve got workplace accidents, car accidents and their implications. There is also cognitive dysfunction in relation to the daylight saving and the change in timing to our normal body rhythms.”
It’s yet another piece of evidence that points at how important sleep is. So, what can we do to help us adjust to daylight saving time?
1. Try to transition into the time change by going to sleep 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual several days before daylight saving time begins.
2. Try to wake up on Sunday morning at your usual wake up time. Go outside and get some sunlight. This will help to reset your body clock.
3. If you need a nap on Sunday, that’s fine but make sure it’s not longer than 30 minutes and not too close to bedtime.
4. Make sure you follow all the usual good sleep habits to set you up for a good night’s sleep.
Your body may take several days to fully adjust to the time change. Take it easy and pace yourself for the first few days and enjoy the balmy summer evenings that come with daylight savings.