Daylight Saving Time (DST) will begin in United States at 2 am on March 10, 2019.
The nation as a whole will spring forward to take advantage of one extra hour of available daylight.
Sounds reasonable, right?
But if facts are anything to go by, it is not always so, especially for construction crews, repair and maintenance crews, or anybody who works in hazardous outdoor conditions or handles heavy equipment.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans on average sleep 40 minutes less than their normal amount on the night following the springtime change. And the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has found that there is a measurable increase in accidents on the Monday following the Spring shift to DST. Which, this year, is March 11th.
Even though our physical clocks jump an hour ahead with the onset of DST, human biological clocks keep following the pattern they’re used to. This dissonance causes significant sleep deprivation in some individuals, not to mention the mental anxiety that comes from the knowledge that one has to wake up a good hour early.
It’s a forced change in circadian patterns that takes some getting used to, which is why it is important for outdoor workers to be aware of the possibility of not functioning at their best on the Monday after DST.
Use the 7 following tips to protect yourself from DST’s unfortunate fallouts:
# 1: Manage Sleep Before DST Sets In
Be aware of how much sleep you are getting, at least a week before the clock springs forward. Don’t let sleep deprivation accumulate before the event, and make a bad situation worse.
# 2: Spring Forward Early
Change the time on your clock or watch to one hour ahead before the onset of DST. After you do this, go to bed at your usual time. Your body clock will not detect any sudden changes, and you will enjoy a quality and restful sleep, even if you now have to wake up an hour early.
# 3: Follow a Timetable
That means go to sleep and wake up at the set time for at least ten days before March 10th without oversleeping or pushing the snooze button.
# 4: Dim the Lights at Night
Our brain recognizes “darkness” as a signal to start producing melatonin, so dim lights a few hours before bedtime and make sure there are no light sources shining on your closed eyelids when you sleep.
# 5: Adjust Your Diet
Include more sleep-inducing foods like walnuts, almonds, bananas, cherry juice, tuna, rice and dairy products like cheese, milk and yogurt in your daily diet.
# 6: Eat a Snack Before Bed
A small snack eaten an hour before bed helps to stabilize blood sugars. When blood sugar is low, or too high, we become anxious and irritable – a state of mind that does not promote sleep.
# 7: Ease Up Your Social Calendar
If you are prone to sleep deprivation symptoms, it may be a good idea to not schedule too many extra activities before and after the onset of DST. Keeping a steady, predictable schedule for just a few days can help you survive the worst of the symptoms.