5 Daylight Saving Time Mistakes You Make Every Single Year

By Marygrace Taylor

Daylight saving time is right around the corner. And once again, your news feed is flooded with stories about how the annual time change is bad for your health.

We know. One measly hour of missed sleep might not seem like a big deal. But if you’re like most people, you probably turn your clocks forward without giving it much thought—only to end up feeling surprisingly crummy for days afterwards.

Why? Because daylight is your brain’s signal to stop pumping out melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. When the sun is up for longer, your natural sleep-wake cycle can get thrown off track. As a result, you might suddenly find yourself having trouble falling asleep at night and staying awake during the day.

Which, no surprise, can spell some potentially serious consequences. So let this be the year where you plan ahead, so you don’t feel like a zombie all week. Here are 5 common pitfalls you always make after DST, and how to correct course. (Lose up to 25 pounds in 2 months—and look more radiant than ever—with Prevention‘s new Younger In 8 Weeks plan!)

You drive around like it’s any other day.

Humanity’s collective grogginess means that there’s an uptick in fatal car accidents during the first week of daylight saving time, according to one University of Colorado study. That’s scary stuff, so make sure you’re paying full attention when you’re behind the wheel—absolutely no texting or multitasking. If you’re too zonked to drive carefully, get a ride with someone else. (Can’t sleep? Here’s what 7 sleep experts do when they can’t doze off.)

You overload your schedule at work.
Workplace “cyberloafing” (AKA, spending too much time on Facebook or adding new jeans to your virtual shopping cart) tends to spike in the days after DST, research shows. Why? Your brain just can’t function as well when you’re pooped. It would be nice if your boss gave everyone the day off—but since that’s probably magical thinking, be proactive by keeping Monday’s calendar light. That way, at least you’re not zoned out when you should be finalizing the details of that important project.

You skip your usual yoga class.

Everything is more irritating when you’re running short on sleep. In fact, people produce around 5% more of the stress hormone cortisol when the sunrise gets pushed back by an hour. And that extra stress doesn’t just make you snappy—Swedish findings suggest that it actually ups your odds for having a heart attack. Moral of the story? Don’t let your stress management tactics slide when the clocks move forward. Now’s when you really need them. (If you’re short on time, try these one-minute stress tips from Prevention Premium.)
You don’t plan out your meals.

Sleep deprivation and stress are proven diet wreckers. So if you suddenly find yourself craving a burger and fries or a hot fudge sundae, well, that’s sort of normal. But if you’re smart, it’s entirely possible to stay on track. (Try these 7 meal-prep tricks nutritionists swear by.) Figure out your weekly menu ahead of time and stock up on ingredients, so you have the makings of a clean meal on hand.

You don’t take advantage of the extra daylight.

If you don’t usually leave work until 6 PM or later, this might be the first time in months that you’ve walked into your home while the sun was still shining. So why are you continuing to hole up on the couch and watch Netflix all night long? If you aren’t eating dinner outside, taking a post-dinner stroll, or just hanging out on the porch while you chat with your neighbors (even while wearing your winter coat, if necessary), you’re doing spring wrong.

Source: Prevention | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide