Stop adjusting to Daylight Saving Time in the fall. Here’s why.
As we all know, there’s the good time change—when you get an extra hour of sleep in the fall—and the bad one, when you lose sleep in the spring. But even though we’re approaching that wonderful night of extra sleep, you might want to consider skipping the time change this year—and forever.
That’s right: You can just stop doing the Daylight Saving Time (DST) routine. Only around 20% of the world’s population changes their clocks anyway. Go ahead and join the 80%—even if none of them happen to live in your time zone. Defying the time change can help you establish healthy sleep habits, avoid negative health outcomes, and miss that awful transition in the spring.
All you have to do is sacrifice that one extra hour of sleep this fall—and make a few, temporary lifestyle adjustments. Here’s why living an hour off from everyone around you for half the year just might be worth it.
Skipping the time change has benefits
Let’s start with the obvious: By not sleeping in on the night DST ends, you’ll be getting up an hour earlier than you’re used to without even trying. Who couldn’t use an extra hour in the morning? Whether it’s extra time to catch up on reading, relax with a cup of tea, beat the morning rush to work or finally realize that dream of a daily yoga practice, an extra morning hour can be a huge lifestyle boon.
And then there are the less obvious benefits. People with more energy in the morning are better positioned for career success. Studies have also shown that early risers are more proactive, better at problem solving and even eat healthier.
The spring time change is bad for your health
You know what else you can do with that extra hour in the morning? When DST returns in the spring, you can sleep through it. Then, when everyone else is groggy from losing an hour of sleep, you’ll feel great.
And you’ll be safer and healthier too: Scientists have found that the time change disrupts the body’s way of regulating sleep known as circadian rhythm. Research by the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich found that while bodies adjust fairly well to the end of DST in autumn, they actually don’t adjust at all after it begins in the spring. So of course everyone feels like a zombie.
Everything from your hormonal cycles and immune system to digestion and mood are affected by the ticking of your circadian rhythm. With everyone feeling screwed up inside, it’s no wonder there are significantly more fatal car accidents, heart attacks and depressive episodes in the days following the spring time change. But not for you. If you give yourself the gift of an extra morning hour in the fall, you can go ahead and sleep through it next spring.
Being an hour off isn’t that big a deal
Sure, there are a lot of reasons to stay on DST permanently (which is technically what happens if you start skipping the time change in the fall). But how does it work being on a different time than everyone around you for half a year? Here’s the secret: You’re not actually pretending it’s 8 a.m. when it’s 7 a.m., you’re just not adjusting your schedule to the clock when everyone else does.
But according to the clock, at least, you’re waking up an hour earlier. So to make it work, you have to go to bed an hour earlier (again, according to the clock). Also, since eating affects your circadian rhythm, you’ll want to eat the same number of hours you usually do before bed. Since we’re so used to using the clock to guide our day, try setting alarms for when you should start getting ready for bed, or preparing a meal at your “new” times until you get used to them.
Shifting your life by an hour could be a challenge when your favorite shows or evening events might run afoul of your new, early schedule. But thanks to on-demand entertainment options, you won’t actually have to miss any great TV, and hopefully your social calendar can adjust as well. Who knows? You might even convince friends and family to bail out of the time change too. With so many benefits, is shouldn’t be too tough of a sell.
Written by Vicky Ware
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