Spring forward and Fall back. That’s how I always remember which is which. That joyful time in the fall when, if at the pub or the club, you get an extra hour before last call…and on the converse side that dammit moment when you realize you get one less hour of fun that night! Not to mention having to catch up on sleep somehow and being late for everything for a week or so and that weird feeling that it is either too light out or too dark out.
Just what is Daylight Savings Time and why do we do it?
Originally we started doing it so we could keep our work hours and still have the same amount of daytime, which would save money on energy use. In fact, American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” to the editor of The Journal of Paris in 1784. In the essay, he suggested, although jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead.
Germany, oh those clever Germans with their clocks and schedules, is often thought to have been the first country to implement DST BUT it was actually Canada (our home and native land….) to be the first, in 1908, beating out Germany by 11 years. That is the first to have actually been a society that used modern-day clocks. But there is some proof that ancient societies actually used a form of DST as well. Ancient Romans (friends, Romans countrymen, lend me your ears…’cuz I can’t hear my watch ticking..) were known to have adjusted their daily activities to suit the light and water clocks used different scales for different months of the year.
In July, 1908, Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada became the first location to use DST. Other locations in Canada were also early to introduce Daylight Saving bylaws.
On April 23, 1914, Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada implemented DST. The cities of Winnipeg and Brandon in Manitoba followed on April 23, 1916. According to the April 3, 1916, edition of the Manitoba Free Press, Daylight Saving Time in Regina “proved so popular that bylaw now brings it into effect automatically”.
How to handle the time difference.
First of all; PREPARE!
If you are like me, you never see it coming. But if you plan ahead and start adjusting yourself a little bit beforehand you can feel little to no effect from the dread DST.
According to WebMD here are ten tips for dealing with DST
Use these 10 sleep tips to help you spring forward easily and sleep better all year long.
1. Gradually Transition into the Time Change
To minimize the impact of the switch to daylight saving time, make gradual adjustments. Go to bed and put your children to bed 15 minutes early, starting several days before the change. Make an extra effort to be well-rested the week before the time change.
2. Give Yourself a Sleep Break after the Time Change
If you feel sleepy after the change to daylight saving time, take a short nap in the afternoon — not too close to bedtime. Avoid sleeping in an hour longer in the mornings. Your internal clock will adjust on its own in several days.
3. Know How Much Sleep You Need
Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep to be well-rested, and sleep requirements can change with age. To find your ideal number of hours, sleep without an alarm on weekends and see when you wake up naturally.
4. Keep Regular Sleep Hours
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. If possible, wake up at the same time on the weekends, too, which makes Monday mornings easier to bear. You can also see how a nap affects your sleep quality. For some, napping can make nighttime sleeping harder; but for others, a short nap (20 minutes) can be revitalizing, without ruining their night’s sleep.
5. Get Some exercise during the Day
Even moderate exercise, such as walking, can help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week or more. If you often don’t sleep well, try not to exercise too close to bedtime.
6. Avoid Stimulating Substances
Alcohol and caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers) can interfere with sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid alcohol and caffeine for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Smokers should also avoid tobacco, another stimulant, too close to bedtime.
7. Eat Lightly at Night
Indigestion from spicy or fatty food or having too much food in your stomach can cause insomnia. For a better night’s sleep, eat light, simple foods several hours before bed.
If you get hungry, have a snack of easy-to-digest food such as carbohydrates or dairy. Also, avoid too much liquid before bed so that you don’t have to wake up to go to the toilet.
8. Relax before bed
Stress and over-stimulation can make it hard to fall asleep. Try to avoid intense television programs or movies before bed. Relax with a soothing, warm bath and curl up with a book instead.
Worry boosts production of the stress hormone cortisol, which makes you more alert. If anxiety keeps you awake, write out your schedule for the following day before going to bed, including possible solutions to challenges you may face.
If you’re worried about hitting a deadline the next day, go to bed early and wake up early to work. Don’t work late into the night. Your mind needs the rest. You may even need less time to finish your work.
9. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Try sleep shades, earplugs, a white-noise machine, or all three.
Temperature helps, too: 60-75 degrees is considered the most comfortable. Also, you need a comfortable mattress.
If you have restless or snoring pets, keep them out of your room, along with all electronics, including your television, computer, DVD player, and stereo. Save your bedroom for sleep, sex, and relaxing.
10. Get Up if You Can’t Sleep
We’ve all had those nights when we can’t fall asleep or we wake up and can’t get our minds to shut down. Avoid watching the clock, which can create more anxiety. If you’ve been awake more than 20 minutes, get up, go to another room, and do something relaxing to help you get drowsy. Keep the lights low, have some warm milk, read a book, or write about whatever may be on your mind until your eyelids get heavy.
Remember kiddies, in the words of the immortal Elvis Presley; “we gotta lotta living to do and we gotta lotta lovin’ to do”, so keep your body and mind in good shape so you get yours!