With daylight saving time around the corner, Canadians are anticipating losing an hour of sleep when the clock strikes midnight, or rather 2 a.m.
Although it may seem insignificant to some and not a major life-altering change, for others it is truly an adjustment.
Narcity spoke to Dr. Azadeh Yadollahi, a Canadian sleep expert and scientist at the KITE Research Institute at the University Health Network, who shared tips on getting people through the hassle of losing an hour of sleep, what it can do to a person, and how to take care of yourself when the time comes (no pun intended).
What is daylight saving time and when does it come into effect?
Daylight saving is an annual occurrence that sees a one-hour jump, either backward or forward, in an attempt to get the most out of natural daylight.
This is why in the spring we lose an hour of sleep and come fall we gain it back.
With that, March 14, 2021, will see the clock change from 2:00 a.m. local time to 3:00 a.m. local time, resulting in Canadians losing one hour of sleep that day.
What are the potential health problems associated with the change?
Yadollahi commented on the effects of daylight saving time and said the clock springing forward creates a shorter resting period that can have negative effects on the body and cause "a sudden disruption to the flow of its internal rhythm."
She explained in her research that many people will have symptoms of tiredness, a reduced ability to concentrate and be more prone to accidents.
She said that heart attack rates rise amid the time change, especially for those with previous health concerns.
The doctor also said the time change can impact the mood of certain individuals, namely those suffering from depression.
"Switching over to daylight saving time interrupts the circadian rhythm and usually induces fatigue," she said.
"If a person is already prone to depressive episodes, this could potentially increase the severity of their symptoms in the days that follow."
How can I prevent it and take care of myself?
Yadollahi told Narcity that taking a stroll outside and getting more sunlight exposure is the best way to try to avoid the side effects of the change.
She said the best way to get ahead of the curve is to also call it a night earlier than normal.
"For example go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier, to let your body adjust to the changes," she said.
She further explained in her research that when the time change arrives, your body will eventually get the memo and work with you instead of against you, if done right.
She also said that eating a healthy breakfast can help put you on the right track. The perfect balanced breakfast, she says, would be food low in bad fat but rich in proteins, in order "to give your body more energy, and stay hydrated."