I’m of two minds at this time of year. I’m excited that spring is almost here: days warm up, trees sprout new growth, and outdoor patios beckon. But then I remember that to get to all that good stuff, we have to endure Daylight Saving Time – that dreaded day when clocks “spring ahead” an hour and I’m sleepy and cranky for a few days. And that day is happening this weekend (except for you lucky folks in Saskatchewan, parts of BC and the Yukon). Sigh.
Aside from me being cranky, there are some real impacts of the bi-annual time change. Studies have shown that time changes, both spring and fall, result in detrimental health effects as well as increased traffic accidents. But if we know the time change is coming, there are steps we can take to protect others and ourselves when we’re on the road.
- Go to bed early all weekend. Start going to bed early on the Friday and Saturday before Daylight Saving Time kicks in - it will help your body adjust sooner.
- A lot of us have been working remotely for the last two years. If you have the option to telecommute, the Monday after Daylight Saving Time is the time to do it. Enjoy a little more sleep and avoid potentially sleepy drivers going to and from the office.
- Acknowledge that your body is out of whack and take a little extra time. Take a moment when you get into the car to really focus on the route you're about to take. Apparently it can take as long as two weeks for our bodies to adjust to the change in time - so be sure to keep tabs on your fatigue and avoid driving when sleepy.
- Cut down on in-car distractions. Consider leaving the music off and if you're a coffee drinker, enjoy that java before you leave the house or after you get to work - no sipping on the road!
- Keep it cool. If it's warm in the car, you'll feel cozy…and drowsy. Keeping the car cooler will help you stay alert. Turn down the heat or open the window for a little fresh air.
- Focus to AND from work. You might think that the most accidents happen in the morning following Daylight Saving Time but in fact, the majority of them happened on the afternoon commute home, when your lack of sleep may really be catching up with you. Take a moment before leaving work to relax and focus on that drive home.
- Bring the right eyewear. You may have been heading home in twilight the last few weeks and with the time change, the day will still be bright. Make sure to have your sunglasses on hand, particularly if you're driving west.
Do you have any post-Daylight Saving Time "getting back to normal" rituals? Share them in the comments! And be safe out there on Monday!