Prepare for the Time Change

We are coming up on Daylight Savings Time. You need to prepare yourselves for the impact to your physical and mental health.

The daylight savings time change forces us to spring forward and advance our clocks one hour. This effectively moves an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, giving us those long summer nights. But waking up Monday morning may not be so easy, having lost an hour of precious sleep and perhaps driving to work in the dark with an extra jolt of java. How time changes actually affect you depends on your own personal health, sleep habits and lifestyle.

Moving our clocks in either direction changes the main cue for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle, or circadian rhythm. In doing so, our internal clock becomes out of sync or mismatched with our current day-night cycle. Scientists have found a number of problems associated with daylight savings time. Even one hour of lost sleep affects many areas of functioning, decreasing motor function, memory and mood. Besides grogginess, people often get irritable during the time change.

How to Prepare?

  1. Go to bed earlier than normal;
  2. Drink water instead of coffee or alcohol;
  3. Expose yourself to as much light during daytime hours as possible;
  4. Exercise before bedtime;
  5. Take calming actions, such as a bath;
  6. Use lavender oil, which is known for calming traits;
  7. Maintain a diet rich in carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables; and
  8. Avoid using medication

What Should You Remember?

  1. The lack of sleep might affect a person’s reasoning skills;
  2. Irritability might be temporary;
  3. Avoid making lasting decisions during the week after the clocks change;
  4. Have rational discussions on parenting issues or marital problems when everyone involved has adjusted to the change in time

Children can sense when parents are not quite right. It is during these times of lack of sleep that they tend to act in inappropriate behavior. If you don’t prepare for your change in your mental health due to the time change, you will lose your temper and your authority. You need to deserve your child’s respect in both times of irritability and calmness. You must act in a way that deserves respect; ensure your child has immediate consequences for their defiance; and maintain socially acceptable standards of behavior all the time.

Although children will capitalize on your lack of sleep, spouses also can run amok due to the time change. If you are irritable, you are not likely to handle small disagreements rationally. You just might end up arguing over little things that could be resolved if you had waited until you adjusted to time changes and prepared your mental health. To be happy in marriage, you have to keep in mind the ways you don’t want to communicate. Don’t interrupt your partner. Keep your conversations to one issue, such as paying for camp. Don’t remind your spouse of his or her faults when you are trying to deal with an issue. Don’t use ultimatums. Avoid saying always or never. Don’t resort to name-calling. Trying to prove you are right is a mistake. Don’t start a conversation with why. Don’t expect your spouse to read your mind. Be consistent with words and body language. And, remember that both you and your spouse had lost an hour sleep, so you are both going to be irritable.

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