It happens twice every year—the switch from standard time to daylight saving time in the spring and back again come autumn. Add to that the decrease in daylight hours and driving between time zones and it can all be pretty disruptive to sleep patterns and mood. It can even be a bit confusing when it comes to logging time. While the change doesn’t affect the number of hours we see daylight in the winter, it can seem like it does when suddenly the sun is setting around 5:30pm on November 1—an hour earlier than the day before.
It’s Dark Out There!
That initial first day of standard time in the fall can feel a bit luxurious with that hour we gain back to either rest a bit more or get one more thing done that day, but it is also a little striking when darkness falls an hour earlier than the day before. While a large percentage of NTB drivers are on the road at night and sleeping during the day, in the peak of summer those driving hours may start during daylight or end as the sun is rising. Increased daylight hours help us feel more awake and rejuvenated after sleep and the opposite occurs as daylight hours decrease.
If the lack of sunlight makes a driver feel more fatigued, decision making can be affected, resulting in anything from minor setbacks to an increase in accidents. Increased darkness can also make a person feel depressed or moody, making interactions with people on the job strained and stressful. There are a few things a driver can do to offset the effects of this darker period of the year.
Three Things to Stay Awake and Alert
Taking 20-30 minutes to go outside for a walk or jog before working gets the heart rate up and helps provide more oxygen to the brain and muscles. The brisk fall and winter air can feel refreshing even in the darkest days of winter. If there is a coffee shop within a mile or two of where your truck is parked, make a point of walking to it, or take a walk around the parking lot to get some fresh air in your lungs to help wake you up.
Keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. Staying on a good sleep cycle will make sure your body is getting enough rest and help reduce the likelihood of feeling fatigued during your workday. Ensuring that you get enough sleep will keep your energy up and keep fatigue at bay.
Invest in a light therapy lamp designed to trick the brain into thinking there is sunlight. Before you head out for your day of driving, 20 minutes of light therapy can help elevate your mood and increase your energy level.
Share your methods for dealing with shorter days either in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
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