Why It’s Time to Put Daylight Saving Time to Bed Once & for All (Plus 9 Tips for Better Sleep) by Jacob Teitelbaum


Why It’s Time to Put Daylight Saving Time to Bed Once & for All (Plus 9 Tips for Better Sleep)

It’s time for daylight saving time (DST) to be put to bed and instead switch to standard time throughout the year. Our internal clocks, called the circadian rhythm, are critical for healthy functioning – and this includes sleep, cognition and energy. Driving to work and school when it’s still dark outside and your brain is still sleepy is associated with increased accidents and poor functioning, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

A 20-year study published in Current Biology following 732,835 fatal motor vehicle accidents showed an average 6 percent spike in traffic fatalities linked to DST every March. Another study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that 6 to 11 percent of police-reported motor-vehicle crashes and 16 to 21 percent of fatal crashes involved drowsy driving.

Overall, the shifts caused by following daylight saving time have been associated with higher risks of deaths from car crashes, workplace errors (including medical), stroke and heart attacks.

"Springing forward” is harder on the body than “falling back,” but both are unhealthy and worsen our national epidemic of insomnia. The extra hour of light in the evening makes it harder for people to fall asleep. For many people, this simply results in one less hour of sleep at night.

We’re already a sleep-deprived society making do with an average of six and three-quarter hours of sleep per night. This increases fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, weight gain, chronic pain and immune dysfunction. Simply put, things that worsen our national epidemic of insomnia are unhealthy.

But until the DST laws are changed, there are many safe, natural approaches to helping the body get to sleep when it’s time. These can include melatonin and magnesium/calcium supplements and numerous herbs and nutrients such as valerian, passionflower, five HTP, hops and lavender. A number of essential oils can also be quite effective.

Here are more tips to help you sleep better:

  1. Don't consume alcohol near bedtime.
  2. Don't consume any caffeine after 4:00 p.m.
  3. Don't use your bed for problem-solving or doing work.
  4. Take a hot bath before bed.
  5. Keep your bedroom temperature cool.
  6. If your partner snores, sleep in a separate bedroom (after tucking in or being tucked in by your partner) or get a good pair of earplugs and use them. The wax plugs that mold to the shape of the ear are often the best ones.
  7. If you frequently wake up to urinate during the night, do not drink a lot of fluids near bedtime.
  8. Put your bedroom clock out of arm's reach and facing away from you so you can't see it. Looking at the clock frequently aggravates sleep problems and is frustrating.
  9. Have a light snack just before bedtime. Hunger and hypoglycemia cause insomnia in all animals, and humans are no exception. For your snack, eat foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as milk and turkey, which promotes good sleep.

Note: The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
Great insights as always!

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