Moving Forward while Falling Back

And just about everyone can agree that the latter is a nice side effect of the Fall time change.

However, for many people, the end of long days can usher in everything from depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to headaches and irritability. So…

Why fall back?

When (and why) did we decide to start playing with time? Benjamin Franklin actually came up with the idea of DST back in 1784 as a way to save on sunlight and burn fewer candles during winter mornings and nights. However, it didn’t become official in the US until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, with the same intention to conserve energy.

But while most of the US plays along with the time change, Arizona, Hawaii and several overseas territories including Guam and Puerto Rico opt to leave their clocks alone year-round. And research is decidedly mixed in terms of whether or not DST actually saves energy, with some studies indicating that the time change actually increases usage.

What do to?

But whether the rationale behind DST is noble or nutty, our bodies still protest mightily when their natural rhythms are interrupted. The good news is, there are ways to prepare and protect yourself when the clocks roll back. Here are a few idea to get you started:

Schedule Your Saturday

If at all possible, turn back your clocks during the later morning or early afternoon. Shifting activities such as meals will help your body adjust more easily.

No Napping

A power nap during the day may be tempting but resist. Take a walk or eat a healthy snack instead.

Get a Move On

Mild exercise, such as an early evening walk, can help stave off a crash after work. Exercise releases the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which will help your body adapt to the time change.

Slow Down the Stimulants

Limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol the day before the time change. These substances can impair your ability to fall asleep and can also trigger headaches as the clock switches over.

Keep it Light

Get as much sunshine as you can in the weeks before the time change. Mane people, especially those with SAD, may find that a light box is very helpful in elevating mood and energy levels.

Destress before Bedtime

Take some time to unwind before you hit the sack. Try a warm shower, a cup of decaf tea and a relaxing book. Turn off the TV and all your electronic devices.

Give one or more of these strategies a try, and your mind and body will be back in sync with the season in no time.

Key dates in October:

  • October 3: National Techies Day
  • October 4: National Gold Day
  • October 5: World Teachers Day
  • October 9: Columbus Day
  • October 11: Emergency Nurses Day
  • October 16: National Boss’s Day
  • October 24: United Nations Day
  • October 28: Make a Difference Day
  • October 31: Halloween

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