Daylight Saving Time will end here in Illinois at 2 a.m. on November 6th. While some people rejoice in spending another hour in bed that night, for others, it can begin a problematic transition to darker days and longer nights. The time shift can disrupt a senior's circadian rhythm, which is the body's natural clock that regulates functions like sleeping and digestion. The time change also means some seniors may get less natural sunlight, which could impact their mood.
If Daylight Saving Time significantly impacts a loved one's mental and physical health, they aren't alone. A scientific review found that time changes such as Daylight Saving Time can result in disrupted sleep schedules, negative moods, more auto accidents, and even increased risk of heart attacks.
How to Prepare for the Time Change
If loved ones have been impacted in the past, now is the time to start preparing for this year's time change in Chicago, Des Plaines, Lake Forest, and surrounding areas. Here are some suggestions that seniors can implement to help with the adjustment.
Get Outside As Much As Possible
Many people in Des Plaines and other Chicago-area suburbs struggle with their mental health in the winter months, partly due to a lack of sunlight. Seniors can help combat these winter blues by getting outside as much as possible during daylight hours. Try running errands in the morning or meeting friends for a walk before the sun goes down. Being outside as much as possible can give the brain the dose of sunlight it needs to stave off a low mood. Consider buying a sun lamp for someone unable to get out often enough. Sitting in front of these lamps for 30 minutes daily can help alleviate seasonal depression.
Keep the Current Sleep Schedule
While it's tempting to sleep in for an hour on Sunday after the time change, this could throw the circadian rhythm off even more and lead to digestive issues, sleep problems, and feelings of anxiety. Instead, get up at the usual time (an hour earlier on the clock). Doing this will keep the regular sleep schedule intact and help the body maintain its normal rhythm in a 24-hour period. It may be easier to switch to a new schedule in a couple of days or consider sticking to an earlier bedtime through the winter months.
Plan a Day of Rest on Sunday and Monday
Seniors should listen to their bodies if they've historically dragged for a few days after the time change. Being patient with the body can take the stress out of the time change and allow a slower natural adjustment. Keep the schedule free for a day or two after the time change to make it easier to comfortably adjust to the difference. It may help to use this time to put out fall decorations or enjoy a favorite fall treat at a Lake Forest cafe to welcome the new season.
Need Help Preparing for the End of Daylight Saving Time and Other Seasonal Changes?
Senior Helpers of Greater Chicagoland is here for you. Our in-home care services can help ease the transition to the winter months with companion care that includes caring conversations, help with hobbies, running errands, and helping a loved one spend time in the sunshine. A helping hand can make those long winter nights much more enjoyable in Chicago, Lake Forest, Des Plaines, and surrounding areas. Looking for a caring companion this winter? Contact us for a free in-home consultation.