The Most Important Thing to Do When the Clocks Change

Every spring, when the clocks change, hospitals report a 24 percent spike in heart attacks. Losing an hour of sleep isn’t good for you. Every fall, when they change, we appear to just gain an extra hour of sleep. There doesn’t seem to be a health downside to “falling back.” Many of us feel a little jet-lagged this week. But, a lot of people are feeling well-rested, having “gained” an extra hour in bed.

For many Americans, the most significant hazard we face is relearning how to drive in the dark! If you are someone who drives in the afternoon, you might be thrust into darkness this week. Take extra caution on the roads as you readjust.

Getting used to the time difference itself isn’t as hard for most of us in the fall as it is in the summer. Sleeping in is never as hard as getting up early. Even if you wake up, you can drowse and relax without getting up and facing the day. It’s nice to be waking up in daylight again! In the evening, try to stay up until you’re regular bedtime; that makes sleeping in the morning easier as well. That’s especially important for early risers! If you habitually get up at five, waking up at four in the morning isn’t a great way to start the day. Staying up until your regular bedtime will aid the change. If it’s too hard, try shifting bedtime in 15-minute increments until you hit the right time. If you are still having trouble shifting your sleep schedule, there are some great tips in this blog from our friends at Sleep Advisor

The clock change marks the season in a way that has been missing this year more than most. The world has seemed to pass outside our windows. We haven’t had the usual get-togethers and events that make the seasons feel real. Without a typical Halloween, none of it has had much impact other than the weather. Now, the different light and clocks are tangible signs of the change. You can use that feeling of shifting to prompt some fall cleaning! If you didn’t get around to cleaning out closets this spring, now is an excellent time to clear out the clutter. It’s also a great time to check the expiration dates on food in the pantry!

Here’s the most important thing you should do this week: check your smoke alarm and your CO2 monitor if you have one. If you don’t have a CO2 monitor, learn more about how they could save your life and consider installing one. It’s vitally important to make sure your alarms are working well. Some have built-in batteries and have to be replaced every 10 years. Others might need a new battery. Having an event to remind us to do it can prompt it every year. This is an essential step to making sure you have a healthy and safe winter. Make it an annual tradition: change the clocks and check your batteries!

Banner image: Wikimedia Commons
November 05, 2020
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