Spring Forward - How to Counteract Losing Sleep during Daylight Saving Time

 

 

I want you to take a moment to think about a time when you woke up feeling peaceful, happy, refreshed and excited - ready for the day!  I hope your answer is that you wake up that way every single day! However, if you are like most Americans, over half, then you have sleep disturbances once or a few times per week.

I would definitely consider good, restful and restorative sleep part of Your One Sweet Life! So this month’s theme is Restoration is the Foundation for A Sweet Life. 

Did you know that we have restoration processes every day, more specifically, every night?  Yes, you guessed it SLEEP is one of our most essential restoration processes.

What do I mean when I say restoration?

We don’t use that word “restoration” much, however, it is essential for health.  Restoration is the act of restoring, renewal, revival or reestablishment; the state or fact of being restored.  My favorite definition of restoration is a return of something to its former, original, normal or unimpaired condition.  Simple language, it means getting back to your optimal self.

So this month I am going to share with you, routines and habits that will get you back to your best self.  We will focus on sleep since that is something you do every day but I will sprinkle in a couple of other restorative processes too that impact your health.

Speaking of sleep!!

I want to remind you that daylight saving time starts on Sunday, March 12, 2017.  We will be springing forward which means we will be losing an hour of precious sleep.  For some of us, like me, it’s going to be a painful process. If you think that one-hour will not make a difference, think again!

Sleep directly affects health and safety, Russell Rosenberg, board chairman for the National Sleep Foundation says, “and the sleep loss associated with daylight saving time has been linked to increases in traffic and on-the-job accidents the Monday following the time change.”

Here are 4 tips to help you prepare for the daylight saving time change.

1) Move up your schedule

Start this week by moving your schedule, especially your evening activities, up by 15-minutes each day.  Here are examples of activities that you might consider moving up - eating dinner, doing homework or going to bed.  Here is a sample of how you can make the change gradually:

  • Today, Tuesday go to bed at 10:45 pm
  • Wednesday go to bed at 10:30 pm
  • Thursday go to bed at 10:15 pm
  • Friday go to bed at 10:00 pm
  • Remember, Saturday we lose an hour at 2 am.

2) Take a 45-minute power nap

Plan to take a 45-minute nap on Sunday after the daylight saving time change.

3) Shine the Light In Your Eyes

Before or after your nap on Sunday get some sunlight! Sunlight helps to set your circadian rhythms, your internal clocks.  If it is too cold to be outside with the sun then grab your favorite beverage (non-caffeinated non-alcoholic, of course) and sit in your favorite window for 30 to 60 minutes.  The sunlight can make you want to go bed early.

4) Avoid Hard Liquids

Yep! I said it - avoid alcohol and caffeine for a few days before Sunday, March 12th.  Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with your hormones.  Sometimes they make it difficult to fall asleep but they can also make it more difficult to wake up.  If you are already feeling sleep-deprived, then waking up with less sleep will make you feel horrible!

There you have it: 4 tips that you can integrate into your schedule this week to help you navigate daylight saving time better!  You can be sure that I will be using them!

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae