How to Make Daylight Savings Easier on Your Body
TIPS FROM OUR VFINTY EXPERTS
Most of us look forward to Daylight Savings Time when we “fall back” and get an extra hour of sleep added to our lives. Taking advantage of that extra sleep and then keeping that benefit can be a challenge. Here are a few tips from our Vfinity experts to help make Daylight Savings Time easier on your body!
DID YOU KNOW??
It can take your body up to a week or longer to adjust to the time change. Until then, falling asleep and waking up later can be difficult.
Many people experience a decrease in their work and fitness performance, concentration, memory function, as well as daytime drowsiness. Even though it’s just an hour, it’s altering your circadian clock!
In some cases, the time change can be dangerous. If your sleep cycle is out of whack, driving can be a bad idea. One study showed fatal traffic accidents increase the Monday after both time changes.
Why is the change of one hour so hard? In the fall, when you’ve gained an hour of sleep, you might not feel tired, but you may get cranky when you have to wait an extra hour before your lunch break or when it feels like work should have ended an hour ago. It can also be harder to stay up an hour later and wake up an hour later when your body and internal clock is used to a different schedule. It can affect our quality of sleep when a new time schedule is forced upon us.
For a better transition, here are some tips for dealing with the time change:
Keep your schedule
Try to manage your time by keeping your routine as close to normal as possible. If you usually wake at 8 a.m., wake up at the same time on the morning of the time change (although the clock will say 9 a.m.). Stay consistent with eating, social, bedtime, and exercise times. Raising your body’s core temperature can make it harder to fall asleep, so avoid heavy workouts within four hours of going to sleep.
Have a nighttime ritual
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. You don’t need to do things in a specific order, but make a habit of slowing your body down. Dim your lights. Take a warm shower. Put your phone and computer away, and turn off the T.V., and read a book to help you relax. For young children, it’s absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime. That’s what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. One option: giving your child one a warm bath, reading him a book, and snuggling together before lights out. Also, avoid screen time close to bedtime. Electronics’ high-intensity light hinders melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. It stimulates your brain and makes sleeping difficult.
No long naps
Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish, but this can backfire! Longer daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep. The need for sleep increases throughout the day, so if you snooze, the sleep pressure decreases and makes it harder to fall asleep at night. Instead, step into the sun to stimulate your body and help retrain your inner clock.
Use light to regulate your internal clock.
Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. Make sure to get as much outside time or sunlight during the day as possible.
Remember, the closer you stick to your regular routine, the faster your body will adjust to the clock!