On March 8th most of the country will ‘Spring Forward’ and start daylight savings time. For most people, it’s a day that can’t come soon enough. We are already seeing the sun setting later and later, but now additionally we have moved an hour of daylight from morning to night.
The process seems simple enough, but for some, it doesn’t come without difficulties. When we move the clock either forward or backward it resets our circadian rhythm – the natural cycle in which our bodies operate. A large percentage of the population find that their internal clocks don’t cooperate with the time change. The spring change is typically far more difficult than in fall, so adjustments need to be made for the shift. Waking up the Monday morning after having lost an hour of sacred sleep can have a big effect on many and for several days thereafter. How it will impact you personally depends on your lifestyle, health, and sleep habits. So, how can you reset your internal clock more quickly to adapt to the time change?
Hit the sack sooner. It seems like common sense right? If you go to bed earlier the night before, you lose no sleep and won’t feel the effects right? Not necessarily. It has been shown that we need more than just a day to sync back into a rhythm and experts recommend that you start going to bed early for several nights before the time change so as to slowly ease into a new cycle.
Sleep in comfort: Nothing can hurt your sleep pattern more than wearing binding or uncomfortable attire to bed. Make sure that your pajamas fit well and have a fabric that makes you feel comfortable and able to move. Another great way to prepare for bed is to put your PJ’s on early so your body starts to recognize that bedtime is fast approaching. There’s just something about being in your pajamas that soothes your mind and puts you in a relaxed state of mind!
Reduce screen time. Although your normal routine may involve watching a little television before bed or playing games on your phone or tablet, the light from these devices actually stimulates your brain and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Instead, during the time you are preparing for the time change, try reading a book or taking a warm bath as your method of unwinding. No matter what time of year it is, if you have trouble getting a good night’s rest, avoid hand-held screens and computer displays at least two hours before bed, and turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime.
Get some exercise. Physical activity has so many benefits as we all know. One of the biggest advantages however, is how it improves sleep patterns. Exercise is shown to improve deep sleep which is the most important part of the sleep cycle. This is where your mind and body reset themselves and what makes for that well-rested feeling. A seven-hour night of ‘good sleep’ is much better for you than a nine-hour night of ‘just ok’ sleep.
Watch what and when you eat. Busy days and different schedules can affect the time you have to eat your dinner. You may find that you eat on the go, make unhealthy decisions, or have your meal later than you prefer. We recommend that if possible, eat earlier in the evening. This gives you body time to digest and also reduces the chances of indigestion that can keep you up. Stay away from spicy and fatty foods, and instead choose healthy proteins and whole grains. Also try to avoid caffeinated drinks after about 2pm to give your body time to purge the stimulant.
Remain consistent. Above all, make sure to commit to these temporary changes. If you follow these tips for 7-10 days before daylight savings time, the transition will more than likely be an easy one. Then you can go on to enjoy all the great things that come from more daylight without having that tired, worn-out feeling.
If you have other great tips that will help move forward into spring please share! You can post your comments here or over on our Facebook page.