Recently, all of us have experienced time travel in a way. What on earth am I talking about? That’s right, I am referring to “falling back” or daylight savings time ending. Meaning that it now gets light out earlier in the morning and then by the time the workday ends at 5 pm, it is dark out already. Waking up and falling asleep can be hard enough for many of us already. Then throwing another “wrench” in there so to speak with observing daylight-saving time ending can also give us a jet lag-like effect for a few days after. By moving one hour of daylight from the morning to the evening and/or going back one hour can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. So… what can you do to help with this most recent transition that has affected us all? Fortunately, there are some tips/strategies of some things you can do to help lessen the effect that the change in DST has on your schedule, especially your sleep schedule. The best way overall is to first make sure you have an overall good foundation and balance. Here are just a few tips/strategies that you can try to aid in now getting used to the change in time.
Adjust your Clock Early
To make the time adjustment a bit easier on your body, shift both your bedtime and wake-up time earlier by 15-minute increments. This means shifting other habits earlier too. Eating close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep, as the body is too focused on digesting to wind down the night. A suggestion is to finish your evening meal at least two hours before bedtime, so as you shift your bedtime up, you should do the same with the dinner schedule. Also, avoiding caffeine before bedtime sounds like a no-brainer, it does happen, and it is recommended to avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime to give your body ample time to wind down and fall asleep readily.
Try Relaxation Aids
We all know that turning in early or earlier takes some active effort and planning, as we as busy adults tend to have more difficulty adding to our sleep than subtracting from it. Some things that can help one relax on their way to dreamland include a weighted blanket, a white noise machine, a meditation app from your phone (there are tons of free ones out there), sleep headphones, or a comfortable dark sleep mask. These are just a few ideas that can help you fall asleep faster and get more full-quality sleep. Sleep tracking apps can also tell you when you are waking up and the amount of quality sleep you are getting. There are tons of free apps out there you can download on your phone also. If all else fails, put your phone alarm, alarm clock, or whatever you use to wake up in the morning on the other side of the room, so you physically have to get up to silence it and when you do, turn on the main lights to help you wake up faster.
Spend Time in the Sun
One way to get your body clock going and in tune with the son is to simply get out into the light. A good dose of sunlight even if for 15 minutes in the morning as you sit on your porch or back patio with your cup of coffee can help you wake up and reset for the upcoming day.
Temperature is another trigger for sleep. The optimal bedroom temperature is between 60- and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. One way to trick your body into sleepiness is to adjust the temperature a little earlier in the night. Having a smart thermostat is a great way to be able to do this. You can set the thermostat to start cooling down your home, or the room you sleep in a little earlier in the evening. Taking a hot bath or shower before bed can also drop your body temperature quickly and help send you into your ideal sleep mode.
These are just a few tips and/or strategies that can help one get adjusted to the recent time change and prepare for the winter months ahead. Remember that none of these tips is perfect for everyone, as everyone requires different things including more or less sleep than others. However, the main fundamental concept here is to remember balance. All of life is about maintaining balance.
Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete. A sense of harmony. Balance is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.
Keeping this in mind and through practice, in a few months winter will be over, and spring will be upon us, and it will be time to “spring ahead” one hour with the time change. By then you will have that balance and will already be prepared and ready to go to bring on the spring!