This extra hour of daylight can be more meaningful than ever, especially when we want to go outside and enjoy more socially distanced fresh air than ever before. But how should we use this gift for an extra hour of daylight?
Unless you’re a vampire, you’re probably neutral, if not optimistic, about the extra 60 minutes of light we are granted.
The extra daylight comes to us through the obsolete practice of daylight saving time, when farmers needed more daylight to plant all things. Come fall, they needed more morning light to harvest (hence the loss of an hour).
While this archaic practice may confuse our colleagues, for example, in Arizona, where they do not recognize these changes in the continuum-time-space, there is also fun to enjoy with more sun.
Particularly for those of us who are tied to our desks for most of the day, this extra hour of daylight can mean the chance to really be outside while the sun is still up.
“The reason we struggle during the time change is because our internal, natural clock was set up and now the environment works at a different time,” said Alicia Roth, a clinical health psychologist at the Center for Disorders. Cleveland Clinic Dream.
“It’s important to use the hours of the sun during the time change to reset the clock naturally,” he said.
Take yourself in the glory of the sun
There is a reason why children draw smiling faces on the sun in their pictures. Suns are not just bright forces that evoke positivity: the yellow color of many cultures symbolizes happiness, optimism, and enlightenment; the sun’s rays are literally good for us.
“Being outdoors and exposed to natural sunlight has a big impact on sleep health,” Roth said.
Natural light stimulates melatonin, a chemical in the brain that helps set internal clocks, Roth says. Melatonin is suppressed when in sunlight, which helps make you feel more alert. Conversely, when the sun sets, melatonin turns on again and you feel asleep.
“Being outdoors can keep you alert and energetic because melatonin is being suppressed,” he said.
Go out into nature
Take advantage of this extra hour to stroll through nature, soak up the sunset or practice yoga or stretch out in the open air. In addition to the obvious benefits of exercising and moving, communicating with nature has shown health benefits.
Taking it with family or a friend can have the added benefit of safe socialization and quality time. Being immersed in nature is also good for children. Either, if you are alone, or it is the only time you are alone in the day, you can use it as a type of meditation. Take the opportunity to cultivate mindfulness by listening to the sounds of nature around you and your own breathing and practicing the moment.
Throw a ball with the dog, play a soccer ball with the child, or find a body of water to walk on during this last hour of sunshine. Either save your morning exercise or break routine for later.
An evening walk after dinner is also a great way to digest and restart before moving on to the nightly routine.
“Being active in the afternoon in the sunlight can help you not to go to bed too early and therefore avoid waking up too early in the morning. Additional hours of sunlight can be used to to extra recreation, etc. which of course will help you.your mood! “said Roth.
If you’re not excited about closing your eyes and bathing in the warm glow of the star in our solar system, there are other reasons to embrace joy with the change of time. At the very least, the car clock is right again. At its very best, you can take advantage of the extra daylight hours to do something that is good for your body and your soul.
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