Last weekend, we finally got to make up for that hour we lost last March when daylight saving time began. And I’ll tell you what — that extra hour of sleep Sunday morning made me feel like a million bucks!
And I’m not the only one. Studies show that there are fewer heart attacks and car accidents during the week after we set our clocks back in the fall, which is a testament to the power of sleep! After getting a little more rest over the weekend, rush hour commuters are far more alert than they are in the spring, when daylight saving time begins.
But for some folks, the benefits of that extra hour are overshadowed by increasingly shorter days with less and less sunlight, and the thought of a long, cold winter ahead. If this sounds familiar, here are a few things you can do to lighten up the winter blues:
- Use as much indoor light as your budget allows. Try filling your sockets with full-spectrum light bulbs that include all the colors of the rainbow and look much more like natural daylight.
- Plan special events that will keep you happy. Make firm commitments now, so you’ll have something to look forward to when the blahs set in. And if you can, take your annual vacation this winter, rather than next summer, and head for the sun.
- Get 30 minutes of regular exercise a day to get your endorphins circulating and you’ll find it much easier to combat the depression of a long, cold, dark winter.
- Help your body make up for what it’s missing when it’s not exposed to sunlight: vitamin D — a.k.a. the sunshine vitamin. Milk is loaded with D, so drink at least one glass a day.
If seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a problem for you, try what’s called a dawn simulator — essentially a bedside lamp that gradually glows from dim to more intense light, mimicking a natural mid-May sunrise. Just program the fake dawn to start one to three hours before you awaken, and your body will detect the changing light through your closed eyelids.