AUSTIN (KXAN) - The yearly changing of the clock can be a pain but for some it can also throw off your game.
Katherine Voss with Scott and White Hospital says even though your brain knows that the time on the clock has changed, your body's clock may not adjust so quickly.
Your body may not feel tired in the fall when you gain an hour but you may get cranky waiting that extra hour for lunch. In the spring when clocks move forward, and you lose that extra hour of sleep, it might be difficult to fall into normal sleep rhymes an hour earlier. Voss says that could lead to less quality sleep.
"Studies are contradictory, showing that DST has both positive and negative impacts on health and safety," said Voss.
With more daylight during spring, there is more time to exercise and do yard work, which ultimately could improve fitness levels. The extra sunshine can be good for your health, too. Those extra rays trigger D synthesis in the skin.
An adverse side effect to the spring change, more traffic accidents, though fewer fatalities are reported than during standard time.
Below are some tips for dealing with the time change from Scott & White Healthcare - Round Rock's Emergency Department:
• Start early. The time change is usually scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning, in order to reduce the disruption of the workweek. To give yourself more time to adjust before the workweek begins, reset one of your clocks at the start of the weekend, such as Friday night or Saturday morning. Try to eat meals, sleep, and wake according to that clock. When Monday comes, you'll be on your way to feeling adjusted. However, if you have activities and events during the weekend, make sure you don't get confused about the correct time.
• Exercise. Working out releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust. Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors, and early in the day. A brisk morning walk is perfect. Avoid exercising too late in the evening though, as this could interfere with the quality of your sleep.
• Nap wisely. Try to resist the urge to take long naps late in the day. If you get tired, take a short, energizing walk around the block instead. If you must nap, keep it earlier in the day and limit your snooze time to no more than 20 minutes.
• Don't imbibe. Alcohol interferes with normal sleep cycles, so don't rely on a nightcap to fall asleep. (This may be a challenge with SXSW!).
• Digest. After the time changes, you may be hungry for meals earlier or later than before. Be sure to give yourself ample time to digest your dinner before heading off to bed. A heavy meal in your stomach will interfere with the quality of your sleep, too.
• Lighten up. The right combination of light and dark can help your body's circadian rhythm readjust so you can fall asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly. In the morning, open the shades and brighten the lights. Try to spend time outside during the day, if possible. Dim the lights in the evening, so that your body understands that it's time to wind down.
"If you've tried all of these suggestions, and you're still having trouble adjusting to the time change after a few weeks, make an appointment to see your doctor," Voss said.
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