Critter Corner: How Can Seniors Best Adjust to Daylight Savings Time?

Dear Oakley,

This Sunday is Pi Day. It’s also daylight savings day, where we move the clocks forward an hour. Every year, I have the hardest time adjusting,and as I’m getting older, it’s gotten more difficult. Do you have any suggestions for making daylight savings an easier adjustment?


Ty M. Chanj

Dear Ty,

Moving the clock forward one hour in the spring doesn’t just affect your schedule — it can throw off your body’s internal clock, too, especially as we get older.

The hour of sleep that’s lost can leave you feeling groggy and irritable. It can also be dangerous. Studies have found that both heart attacks and fatal car accidents increase after the spring shift to Daylight Saving Time.

Adjusting to the time change is different for everyone. Some people adjust quickly and easily; for some it takes a few days; for others, it takes more time. For your health and safety, these are some tips for dealing with the time change:

Prepare ahead of time: If you typically go to bed at the same time every night, about a week before “springing forward,” start going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Your body can use that bit of extra time to make up for the lost hour.
Stick to your schedule: Be consistent with eating, bed, and exercise times during the transition to Daylight Saving Time. Exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning will also help you adjust.
Don’t take long naps: Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. But avoiding naps is key for adjusting to the time change, as long daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep. If you have to take them, take them early and for no longer than 20 minutes.
Avoid coffee and alcohol: You probably want to avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages for at least six to eight hours before bedtime. Some medications can also make it difficult for you to get quality sleep, and our best taking in the morning. Always consult your doctor before changing any medication routines.
Practice good bedtime habits: Before bed, slow your body down. Raising your body’s core temperature can make it harder to sleep, so avoid exercising within a few hours of bedtime. Put your phone, computer or tablet away. Turn off the television and pick up a non-suspenseful book. Lastly, try to stay consistent with the amount of sleep you get each night, including on the weekends. Sleeping in on weekends may sound like a good idea, but it can disrupt your sleep cycle.


Health Experts Say Adopting a Permanent Standard Time Would Be Better for People’s Health

In the last four years, 15 states have passed legislation opting for one year-round time. Congress would have to change federal law before states would be allowed to make the change, though. The proposed Sunshine Protection Act of 2019 would keep us on permanent DST. The bill was reintroduced this week.

Hope some of these tips make the adjustment easier for you!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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