Although many dread doing it, before going to bed on Saturday, Nov. 6, many of us will turn our clocks back one hour to remain on Daylight Savings Time.

During the spring and summer months our clocks are set ahead one hour, and back one hour in the fall and winter in order to “make better use of natural daylight.”

Nearly everyone looks forward to “falling back” and claiming that extra hour of sleep during this time of year. Making that adjustment twice a year is an inconvenience to many, and countless thousands don’t realize that time changes in the fall and spring may alter people’s schedules and it can take the body up to a week or more to adjust.

In order to make a more seamless adjustment to the upcoming time change, Eskenazi Health recommends that you go to bed and wake up 10 to 15 minutes later each day to help your body slowly adjust. Once the time change happens, do all you can to maintain your normal sleep schedule and also try to eat and exercise at the same times as you always have. While we don’t suggest that you do without your usual morning coffee, do all you can to stay away from caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening to make it easier to fall asleep.  
 
Since there’s considerably less sunlight during the late fall and winter months, spend as much time as possible outdoors during daylight hours, which may greatly help your mood. Also, taking a quick walk around lunchtime on a sunny day can be beneficial, and you may also try sitting by a window during the day when the sunlight seeps in.

While your body adjusts and you take the time to set all of your clocks backward an hour, doctors say it is also a great time to check safety equipment around the house, making sure everything is working properly and is up to date.

For instance, be sure to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you have had your smoke detector longer than 10 years, it should be replaced. You should also replace your carbon monoxide detector if you have had it longer than five years.

Doctors also recommend that if you do not already have a home disaster kit, take this opportunity to make one. Keep some extra water, food, flashlights and blankets in the kit in case of an emergency. Once the kit has been created, you can use Daylight Saving Time as an opportunity to do a check up on the kit each year to make sure your batteries and bulbs still work.

This is also a good time to go through all of your medications to see if you have any that have expired because they could be harmful to your health if consumed. Medications past their expiration date should all be discarded and replaced.

Finally, check around your house and outdoor storage areas for any hazardous materials, such as bleach, batteries, pesticides and oils. Properly discard anything that is out of date, damaged or that you no longer use. It is also important to keep those materials where children and pets are not able to reach them.

For more information on the services Eskenazi Health provides or to find a primary care physician, please call Eskenazi Health Connections at 317.880.7666.

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