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A time challenge

March heralds the return of spring in Quebec, but also the dreaded daylight-saving time change on the night of March 9.

Help from science

As clocks move forward and we sacrifice an hour of sleep, it is challenging to maintain regular lifestyle habits as our bodies adapt. Fortunately, science offers advice to overcome this race against the clock.

It’s so simple to tell ourselves to go to bed an hour earlier. But what’s the point if we can’t fall asleep? If only we could trick our minds into prematurely falling asleep…

Our body temperature changes throughout the day. It is at its lowest about two hours before we wake up, and at its highest in the afternoon. Like a conductor and their orchestra, all the cells in our body rely on this temperature change to follow the circadian rhythm. Thus, by deliberately modifying our body temperature, we can directly influence this slumber rhythm.

The trick is to raise our body temperature in the two hours following waking up, creating an instinctive desire to go to bed and wake up earlier in the following days. This strategy is even more effective when combined with exposure to bright light, ideally sunlight.

Simple steps

To put it simply, on the mornings of March 8 and 9, engage in an activity shortly after waking up. A brisk walk in the sun or warm indoor exercises will help change your circadian rhythm so that you can go to bed early on the evening of March 9!

The time change should not be an obstacle to your lifestyle habits, especially if you help jump-start your system by being active. By judiciously incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, you will easily maintain your vitality and mental alertness and avoid the time-change sluggishness.

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