This year marks the hundredth anniversary of daylight savings time in the United States. If you’re anything like me, you wish that we would no longer “fall back”every autumn. Each fall, as the days get shorter and evenings darker, we experience a sudden jolt of increased darkness by losing an hour of daylight in the evening.
This serves to make it virtually impossible to get anything done in the daylight after work. In an article below, published by Vivian Manning-Schaeffel, she noted that 74% of American say a lack of daylight affects their productivity, and 34% of Americans say a lack of daylight affects their productivity significantly.
The rhythms of light and dark, wakefulness and sleepiness are fundamental to our human condition. Increased darkness increases our melatonin and helps us to sleep better with more normal sleep cycles. We then awaken more alert.
As long as we continue to turn the clock back every Autumn, we need to do a few key things to protect our sleep and health. Make sure your sleep environment is cool and dark. Turn off your smart phone and television as the light will adversely affect your sleep quality. Further, try to stop eating at least 2 to 3 hours before you go to sleep, and don’t use alcohol to help you sleep. Alcohol will disrupt the circadian rhythms of your sleep cycles.
During the day, no matter how cold it is, make a point to get outside. Wear the clothes that you need to wear to stay warm and get outside, get moving and receive some fresh air and sunlight, This will help stave off negative mood affects of darkness such as seasonal affective disorder. It can also boost your immune system, and help your body to synthesize vitamin D.
I’m also willing to vote for the next political candidate who has a policy of permanent daylight savings time as a key part of their platform!