Twice each year, most of us suffer the annual indignity of moving our clocks around. It seems like such a small thing – just an hour plus or minus. And for many, we manage to work it out after a couple of weeks without noticeable problems. Or do we?
Finding yourself a bit sluggish this week, not only physically but mentally? You may think it’s your imagination that changing your clock by an hour can do this to you, but…researchers in Indiana wanted to know for sure whether changing their clocks affected students taking the SAT. Because Indiana has some counties on Daylight Savings and others that are not, they compared the SAT scores, controlling for other factors besides Daylight Savings. What they found was significantly lower scores in the counties that had the clocks change vs those that remained on Standard Time.
Since the time change rolled around yesterday, you can do yourself a favor by paying attention to how you’re being affected personally, if you are, and not expecting your peak performance in these next two weeks. I’ll be writing more on the importance of these body clocks soon.
Some hints for fighting back the mind and body fatigue common to most of us:
1. Get sunlight or blue light into your eyes as soon as you get up. Light helps adjust the body clock to the new time. Do this each day for a week, and see if it doesn’t become easier than the first day;
2. Conversely, start to wind down your evening with darkness and quiet about an hour earlier in the evening;
3. Force yourself (with an alarm clock, a determined bed partner or your own favorite way of making sure you get up) to get up at the new time; expect this to be unpleasant for a few days while your body makes the adjustment;
4. Drive carefully and take a little extra time getting to your daily destinations. Scientists have noticed that the accident rate goes up on the week after Daylight Savings begins;
5. Cut yourself a little slack this week in particular, delaying tasks that are ok to do later so that you will be at your mental best to do them next week and give yourself a little extra comfort, such as you would do if you were ill but still had to go to work and function.
Let me hear from you some of your own favorite ways of coping with the time change and I’ll include them in a later post so we can all share in what you’ve learned. Feel free to leave a comment below.