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Make daylight saving a springboard to better health

Spring into better health!

March 9, 2019—Daylight saving time can be a real breath of fresh air, bringing longer days along with spring's warmer temperatures. Why not make the most of "springing forward" tomorrow by planning for a healthier and happier season—and year?

Enjoy the sunlight—safely

At this time of year, it's natural to seek out the sun. But even if it's not sunbathing weather yet, slather on that sunscreen. Ultraviolet rays pose a risk even on a cloudy day. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, and cover up with long sleeves and pants, sunglasses, and a hat.

Get some exercise in the great outdoors

Focusing on fitness only gets easier as temperatures climb and daylight hours increase. And don't worry if going to the gym isn't your thing. Around a half hour of activity about five days a week is a great start: Go for a long walk, take a bike ride or work in your garden. Studies show that even a small amount of exercise each day makes a difference to heart health, sleep quality and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Make over your kitchen

If it's not quite warm enough for biking or yardwork, then start your health kick inside:

  • Spring-clean your fridge and pantry, getting rid of expired and spoiled foods.
  • Toss out overly sugary or salty snacks. (Keep one or two for a treat now and again.)
  • Create a meal plan for the family. With fresh spring produce just around the corner, this can be a simple and effective way to get everyone eating more healthily.

Improve your sleeping routine

Daylight saving is also the perfect time to think about healthier sleep habits. If you have been having trouble getting enough rest, here are a few steps to a sounder night's sleep:

  1. Stick to a routine. Go to bed and get up at the same times each day to maintain a healthy body clock.
  2. Before going to sleep, plan some quiet time. Read, take a bath or listen to some restful music to help you drift off more easily.
  3. Keep televisions, laptops and cellphones out of the bedroom. Looking at a screen can make it harder to fall asleep.
  4. Create a sleep-friendly bedroom. Yours should be cool, quiet and free from distractions.

Sources: American Heart Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Sleep Foundation; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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