This month, the season changes to autumn (Sept. 23, to be exact). Days will start to shorten, nights will lengthen, and (though there may be a heat wave or two in the interim), the temperatures will start to go down.
And just a few weeks later, Daylight Saving Time will end, and those shorter days and longer nights will become even more noticeable!
We go through the same changes every year, and every year many of us complain about the same challenges (like struggling to adjust to the time change and getting up in the morning when it’s still dark). But many of us may not realize the real risks that accompany these very simple changes.
A change of just one hour in your sleep pattern can have a huge impact on your health—primarily because it affects your sleep pattern, which has a major influence on every aspect of life, from physical outlook to mood. One recent study actually found that the number of heart attacks increase an incredible 25 percent the day after Daylight Saving Time begins, potentially because of the negative impact of the sleep loss on people already at risk.
Additionally, when dark falls earlier, people can find themselves at risk in various situations. For instance, in the days following the end of Daylight Saving Time, pedestrians out at dusk are nearly three times as likely to be killed in a car accident.
How can you make it through the time change painlessly? Try these tips.
- Go to bed at your usual time on Saturday night.
- Get up at your usual time Sunday morning, regardless of when the sun rises. Go to bed at your usual time on Sunday night.
- If you nap during the day, make sure to limit the nap to about 30 minutes so it won’t prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep later.
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