Most of the United States shifts between standard and daylight saving time (DST) each year in an effort to “save” natural light. Clocks will get set one hour back on Sunday, Nov. 6, when the DST period ends. Although you may be excited about gaining another hour in your day, DST can wreak havoc on your physical and cognitive health for several days, weeks or even months.
The disruption of DST can negatively impact your health. Your internal clock regulates critical processes, including liver function and the immune system. Interruptions to the circadian rhythm, your body’s 24-hour biological cycle that regulates wake and sleep, can also impair your focus and judgment. For example, a study published in Current Biology found fatal U.S. traffic accidents increased by 6% in the week following DST. Fortunately, there are ways to increase your odds of a smooth DST transition.
While you may be tempted to use the extra hour to indulge in various activities, health experts recommend using that time for sleep. To help make the DST transition easier, consider going to bed 15-20 minutes early in the days beforehand to help your body get used to the difference. If you have specific health concerns, talk to your doctor.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million American adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 don’t even know they have it. While Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, you can take the following steps to prevent Type 2 diabetes:
- Eat a balanced diet. Consume plenty of fiber and whole grains, and understand how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar levels.
- Stay active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Incorporate both aerobic and resistance training.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, weight control can be an essential part of diabetes prevention.
In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. Take control now during American Diabetes Month, and have your blood sugar levels tested by your doctor.