It's that time of year again: Daylight Saving. As usual it came and went without much fanfare or excitement, bringing with it longer days full of sunlight instead of getting dark at 4pm, eventually warmer weather and definitely visions of Spring. While all of this is wonderful, what we often fail to remember is how daylight saving can affect us negatively at times. We know, it's only 1 hour that we lose, but unless you're immune to the time-change, that 1 hour can really throw our routines and bodies off-schedule.
So, to help make the switch as easy and painless as possible, we thought we'd share some tips to surviving daylight saving time this year.
1. Give Yourself a Sleep Break After the Time Change: If you feel sleepy after the change to daylight saving time, take a short nap in the afternoon -- not too close to bedtime. Avoid sleeping in an hour longer in the mornings. Your internal clock will adjust on its own in several days.
2. Keep Regular Sleep Hours: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. If possible, wake up at the same time on the weekends, too, which makes Monday mornings easier to bear. You can also see how a nap affects your sleep quality. For some, napping can make nighttime sleeping harder; but for others, a short nap (20 minutes) can be revitalizing, without ruining their night's sleep.
3. Get Some Exercise During the Day: Even moderate exercise, such as walking, can help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week or more. If you often don't sleep well, try not to exercise too close to bedtime.
4. Relax Before Bed: Stress and overstimulation can make it hard to fall asleep. Try to avoid intense television programs or movies before bed. Relax with a soothing, warm bath and curl up with a book instead. If anxiety keeps you awake, write out your schedule for the following day before going to bed, including possible solutions to challenges you may face. If you're worried about hitting a deadline the next day, go to bed early and wake up early to work. Don’t work late into the night. Your mind needs the rest. You may even need less time to finish your work.
5. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Try sleep shades, earplugs, a white-noise machine, or all three. Temperature helps, too: 60-75 degrees is considered the most comfortable. If you have restless or snoring pets (or spouses), keep them out of your room, along with all electronics, including your television, computer, DVD player, and stereo. Save your bedroom for sleep and relaxing!