Daylight Savings Time (DST) is almost here, just in time to throw off our natural body clock and potentially increase the incidences of a variety of health issues, including fatigue, accidents, depression, and heart attacks.
Even though it’s only a difference of 1 hour, DST can create just enough of a change to stress our bodies and disturb our natural rhythm, leaving us feeling “off” for a few days until we readjust to the new time.
However, there are some simple changes that we can make in our daily routines to help our bodies adapt and keep us more awake during the day and get better sleep at night:
- Seek daylight – Our body clocks are extremely sensitive to changes in light and darkness. Unfortunately, we spend most of our daytime hours stuck inside at work, often under artificial lighting. Taking time to go outside at noon on our lunch break, even if it’s cloudy and overcast, can help to reset our body clock and make us more awake during the daytime.
- Less blue at night – The light emitted from electronic devices, including computer screens and televisions, contains a lot of the blue light spectrum which tends to trick the body into thinking that it’s actually daylight. If you do need to use a computer in the evening, there are various software programs available such as f.lux or Night Shift that help to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from the computer screen. For those who watch television at night, turning off the tv an hour or two before bedtime can be helpful in preparing for sleep.
- Seek darkness – When it’s time to go to bed, try to have as dark of a room as possible. This ideally means blackout curtains and removing or blocking out any sort of light source including LED alarm clocks or other electronics that emit light.
By making some simple and positive changes to our lives, we can get just a little bit closer to living more in harmony with Nature, or as the 2,000 year old acupuncture textbook the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) describes it:
“In ancient times there was a type of natural people who followed the Tao (the natural way of the universe) and were called naturalists. They lived in accordance with the rhythmic patterns of the seasons: heaven and earth, moon, sun, and stars. They aspired to follow the ways of ancient times, choosing not to lead excessive lifestyles. They lived plainly and enjoyed long life.”