The effects of Daylight Savings Time on the body can be unpleasant, and in some cases dangerous. Did you know that the numbers of heart attacks and car crashes increase on the day after daylight savings time. For seniors, being overly tired can also lead to falls and mismanaging medication. It’s best to take time to prepare and be mindful to ensure daylight savings time health and safety.
“There is evidence that the spring Daylight Saving Time (DST) transition acutely increases motor vehicle accident (MVA) risk (“DST effect”), which has been partly attributed to sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment.” Science Direct
Here are Five Daylight Savings Time Tips for Seniors
- Start preparing by moving your bedtime a little each day. By moving your bedtime 15 minutes each day for the days leading up to daylight savings, you can help your body gradually ease into the change.
- Avoid sleep disruptors. Even if you are feeling tired, try not to nap during the day. Also stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and over-the-counter sleep medications. All of these can disrupt sleep and it’s best to strive for the best sleep possible.
- Get exercise. Walk, jog, bike, or swim in the late afternoon or early evening to help you fall asleep easier when the time comes. If there is no time for that, consider taking a hot bath before bed. Raising your body temperature and then slowly lowering it right before bed can help encourage your body to produce melatonin.
- Expose yourself to natural sunlight to minimize the effects of daylight savings time on your body. Try to get outside, if the temperature is too extreme, at least sit in front of a window for a few minutes. Natural sunlight can help to regulate your body’s rhythms. If it’s too overcast, consider getting a sunshine lamp.
- Create an optimal sleep environment. Stay away from screens before bedtime -- that includes watching TV in bed. If you need noise, consider listening to an audio book. Make sure your sleeping space is cool, dark, and quiet enough for a good night’s sleep.
Seniors and Daylight Savings Time
Though studies don’t separate the effects of daylight savings time on older adults, we know that as we age, we’re affected more by everything. And post-menopause, we have enough trouble with sleep.
Putting into place sleep hygiene tips is a good idea for your whole health. By following these tips for seniors and daylight savings time, you can minimize the effects on your body. With a little advance thinking and practicing good habits for a great night’s sleep, you can feel refreshed even when the clocks change.
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