Daylight Savings: How It Affects Your Body + 6 Tips to Help You Adjust

Daylight Savings: How It Affects Your Body + 6 Tips to Help You Adjust

Daylight Saving Time (DST) marks the time to “spring” ahead one hour. This transition from Standard Time was first put in effect to conserve energy and shift the timing of our activities to match more daylight during evening hours. As we head towards the summer solstice (also described as the longest day of the year), the days grow longer and the nights get shorter. And while the extra daylight hours allow for more fun in the sun, these changes in light and time can also influence our circadian system and disrupt our sleep. 

That hour of sleep that’s lost, may leave you feeling groggy and irritable (I’m raising my hand here). But did you know that it could also be dangerous? It’s been found that both heart attacks and fatal car accidents increase after the spring shift to DST.

“In a nation that is already sleep deprived, losing an extra hour can make a huge impact,” says sleep specialist Harneet Walia, MD.

If you’re one of the lucky folks able to adjust right away, congrats and props to you! But adjusting to the time change is different for everyone and while some adjust in a few days, for others it may take more time.


How does the circadian system detect the light/dark cycles?
The circadian system is a complex coordination of biological rhythms meant to help your body function. The human circadian system cycles a little longer than 24-hours (we have an internal biological clock that can tell the time), while being influenced by external environmental cues.

The strongest cue is light exposure (i.e. sunrise and sunset), which keeps the circadian system regulated within our 24-hour day.

The detection of light brightness and wavelength touching the eyes is detected by the master circadian clock in the brain, which distinguishes between the appropriate times for wakefulness (and sleep) and subsequently coordinates many of our bodily functions.

These external cues can be powerful, as they can shift the circadian system timing and alter sleep patterns. In essence, a time shift disrupts our sleep and circadian rhythms and it can take the circadian and sleep rhythms a little “lag time” to transition.

Now, this time change can affect sleeping and waking patterns for 5 to 7 days and we’re here for you with some essential tips for dealing with the time change and encouraging a balanced rhythm:


Avoid coffee and alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime.

As much as that glass of red vino sounds amazing in the evening, alcohol also prohibits you from getting quality sleep, so avoid it late at night. 

Stick to a schedule.

Be consistent with your eating, exercise, social and bed times (especially while trying to adjust to DST). 

Avoid long naps.

I hear you! A little mid-day nap is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. But avoiding naps is key to adjusting. Long daytime naps may make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep (and thus cause disruption). But if you have to take a nap, aim for naps no longer than 20 minutes.

Go Outside Often.

Especially in the early morning. The bright light will help set your “internal body clock,” and help better regulate sleep and alertness. Additionally, fresh oxygen and vitamin D (while wearing sunscreen) help revitalize your spirit, improve mood, while also helping to boost your immunity and increase your feelings of joy.

Springtime cleaning.

Believe it or not, getting organized (tossing/donating, decluttering and simplifying) can make you feel calmer and boost productivity.


Now hear me out… Spring is the best time of year to harvest a little something-something in your garden or balcony. The energy of spring, the blossoming and growing can really channel the energy within your own life and self as well, and bring about thriving and rejuvenation.


Once you have adapted to DST, try to keep a daily routine for sleep and health.
Keep your sleep environment quiet and cool. And for more good habits for good sleep, check out this previous blog. It’s packed with amazing tips promising to help even the more troubled sleepers.

Before I let you go, don’t forget that a little self-care goes a long way, so include the VREA eye masks in your weekly routine. We love you!

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