Staying healthy when the clocks go back

1. Even though we are gaining an hour in order to avoid being sleep deprived on Monday—go to bed at your normal time.

2. Exercise can give your body something to rest from and help you stay asleep at night. Allow wind down time 2-3 hours before bed.

3. Take a hot shower then get into a cool bed. The drop in your body temperature after taking a hot shower and entering a cooler room is a process that naturally mimics day and night—guiding you to sleep.

4. Jot down your to-do list and set it aside so you feel organized to avoid racing thoughts preventing you from falling asleep.

5. Avoid going online or watching TV. Listen to music or read in a dimly lit area to help you feel sleepy.

Another effect of shorter sunlight days is Vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight helps our bodies produce Vitamin D which plays a key role in many processes nutritionally in the body. The other key is a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is directly linked to decreased Vitamin D production in the body. Less sunlight = less Vitamin D production so it is important that we supplement the Vitamin D that the body is NOT producing. RDA from the Vitamin D Council is 5000 IU/day.

Finally, there is a significant increase in the number of car accidents in the days following the end of Daylight Savings Time, which may attribute to lack of alertness from insufficient sleep. Perhaps many people are tempted to stay up late on the week-end in anticipation of the longer day, which can lead to dangerous dark time driving while drowsy. The best thing to do is take advantage of an extra hour of sleep and go to bed at the same time at the end of Daylight Savings Time.

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