With spring finally on the horizon there is another yearly event looming-Daylight Savings. This year it is March 13th. Humans are most vulnerable to sleep deprivation in the spring when we “spring forward” and lose an entire hour. On average it was found that a person gets 40 minutes less sleep on the Monday after the clocks change in the spring. Some people eventually acclimate with no problem after a few weeks but that is not the case for many.
We would like to offer some tips to make the transition easier and safer.
- Eat Healthy and keep hydrated.
- Gradually Alter your bedtime: It is a good idea to start going to bed and waking up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual. A few days before the time change happens. On the Saturday before daylight savings, you can also set your alarm 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual. This makes the transition much easier on your body.
- Spend Time outdoors: After the time change, by getting exposure to natural light and getting some exercise is a great way to lessen the feelings of fatigue.
- Take a nap: if you are feeling fatigued from the time change it is a good idea to have a quick “cat nap” during the day. These naps need to be SHORT otherwise you may wake up feeling groggier. If you don’t want to adjust your wake time the Sunday morning of daylight savings, then consider taking a short nap instead if you know that taking a nap won’t affect your sleep pattern at nighttime. Short naps can be very revitalizing!
- Things to avoid before bed: To ease into the transition of the time change it is a good idea to avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol before bed. Too much caffeine can only further disrupt your natural sleep rhythm. Alcohol can initially make a person sleepy but ultimately can cause sleep disruptions during the night. Also eating a large meal before bed can negatively affect your sleep. Stick to light snacks that are easier to digest and stay away from drinking a large amount of fluids before bed.
- Establish a sleep routine: Be consistent with your sleep schedule. Try and wake up and go to bed at about the same time every day-even on weekends!
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: Avoid watching TV in the bedroom or using your phone just before bed. Make sure that the bedroom is a nice temperature. Studies have shown that the optimum temperature for sleeping is between 15 -23 degrees Celsius. Avoid watching the clock. If you have been awake for more than 20 minutes it is best to get up and go to another room and read for example, and then return to bed. If you are really struggling look at ways of darkening the room such as black-out curtains or shades or even an eye mask. Ear plugs or white noise machines are a good option if noise is a factor in disrupting your sleep.
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