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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

10 Tips to Safely and Successfully Spring Forward

As explained by WebMD, "Losing an hour of sleep to gain an extra hour of sunlight... interrupts your circadian rhythm or your sleep-wake cycle", and the act of springing forward can be stressful for our bodies, affecting our well-being in both positive and negative ways. Losing an hour of sleep in March is especially hard on those not following Arianna Huffington's advice and already getting less sleep than needed. As routines are tools to boost productivity, they can also assist in transitional times like this. During these days counting down to the start of Daylight Saving Time, there are steps to be taken for optimizing the good and minimizing the bad of the upcoming time change. Here are some actions to take this week:

  • Prepare your sleep-wake cycles. Gradually shift yourself into the hour earlier sleep upcoming by adjusting your bedtime before the time change gets here. Go to bed 15 minutes early on Wednesday, 30 minutes early Thursday, 45 minutes early on Friday, and, then, an hour early Saturday. That means you'll get your normal amount of sleep once Sunday's alarm goes off.
  • Caffeinate strategically. As you'll be headed to bed earlier in the upcoming nights, it's increasingly important to fall asleep easier, working towards those goals for your bedtime. Reduce your caffeine intake earlier than usual each day leading up to the start of Daylight Saving Time so it's out of your system earlier and has less effect on when you get to sleep.
  • Fine-tune your bedtime routine. Start preparing for bed by eating dinner earlier. Then, drink a relaxing, sleep-inducing tea to make falling asleep come more quickly, like chamomile, lavender or some combination of similar herbs. Lower lighting and activity levels for an hour before bedtime.
  • Be active during the day. Especially on Saturday, be sure to get some vigorous exercise. If it's sunny, get moving outside and soak in that vitamin D, which advances the body clock.
  • Nap selectively. Normally, power naps can be a good way to catch-up on missed sleep; however, on Saturday or Sunday, an afternoon nap might make it too difficult to go to sleep earlier that night. Avoid taking a nap anytime this weekend.
  • Stick with Sunday's normal wake-up time. While the aforementioned earlier bedtime approach is helpful for those with the chronotype of "night owl", many "morning person" types benefit from waking up in the same increments of increasing earliness; however, when it comes to Sunday morning, everyone needs to get up at what is considered a normal wake-up time. Sleeping in on the morning that the time change takes effect will make adjusting all the more difficult.
  • Power up on morning sunlight. Letting the sun shine over your face first-thing each morning resets your body's natural clock. With Daylight Saving Time, you'll be waking up when it's a little darker outside so consider swapping your alarm clock for a light box to wake up more easily. Take a morning walk outdoors to get moving in the sunshine, even if it's for only 15 minutes. If there's not enough time for a walk, soak in the sun's rays from your porch, patio or sunniest window, allowing the warmth to better jumpstart your day.
  • Add essential oils to your springtime morning routine. A little peppermint in your morning tea will help kickstart your energy level, especially the first week of Daylight Saving Time. 
  • Implement the same changes for kids, too. Children having a hard time falling or staying asleep after the start of Daylight Saving Time are listening to cues from their bodies, making it equally if not more important to help them through this same process of proactively adjusting to the time change.
  • Drive more attentively. The morning is already the most dangerous time on the road; when you add in the fact that it will be darker during your morning commute along with potentially greater exhaustion, it's important to be even more careful and alert as you drive to work, especially during the first few weeks following the start of Daylight Saving Time.

Take action with these tactics to cut down on the stress and sleep deprivation associated with Daylight Saving Time; you'll be grateful for the results. Do you do anything special to make the time change less impactful or stressful? Please share in the comments.

1 comment:

Steve Berke said...

I enjoyed reading your article. Please make more interesting topics like this on.
I'll come back for more :)

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