It’s never been easy to turn your clock one hour ahead every spring. It takes some time to adapt to that loss of sweet sleep. Daylight saving time throws our natural cycle out of place and this can be disorienting for some of us who keep to a rigid schedule. This can also be particularly difficult for kids who need more sleep and don't tolerate sleep deprivation as well as adults. Here are some ideas to help you bounce back!
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The Art of Napping
As most of us know from experience, if you are sleep deprived, a good power nap will go a long way. 10 to 20 minutes usually is the sweet spot, anything longer than that and you are going down the rabbit hole pushing you into the deeper stages of sleep. Medically, we call it sleep inertia, where you wake up 45 minutes in in the middle of deep sleep, groggy, dazed and confused, making you feel even worse than you did before you closed your eyes. But if you want to enjoy the whole extent of the nap and make up lost sleepy time, you are committed to at least an hour and a half, allowing your body to complete one cycle of deep sleep before waking. One word of advice, in my experience, the best nappers are those that don't fret about the sleep, they don't make it about its success, by letting it be what it is, and just simply relaxing their body and resting their eyes, they get better naps than most people. Remember, when you try really hard to nap, you become the master at trying, not the master at napping.
Stimulants & Depressants
Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine can interfere with sleep. Both can remain in your system longer than you might realize so it’s best to avoid them 5 hours before bedtime especially if you are aiming to make up some lost hours of sleep. Stay hydrated with water instead of having coffee, caffeinated tea’s, alcohol or pop in the afternoon.
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of comfort. Create a room that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool for the best sleep possible. This includes your bedtime routine which is critical because it creates a powerful signal for your body that it’s time to sleep. In a world where we continuously live on the go, being mindful of the pace you are going at end consider slowing down every once in a while, will do you good. Whether that’s soaking in a hot bath, listening to soothing music, reading a book or meditating, find your way, and maybe consider not just doing it at night but maybe adding it into your daily routine as well. The pace you move at during the day will definitely have an impact on the pace you would like to wind down to at night. It's a bit of skill that's need training, except in this day and age no one teaches you how to wind down, because its considered lazy...go figure.
If you want to make up that lost hour, it’s time to power down and head to bed earlier. That means leave your cell phones, tablets, laptops alone, turn off the television and dim the lights. Light from electronics triggers stimulating chemicals in the brain that tell your body it’s time to be awake because it thinks its daytime. However, as a result, you don’t produce enough melatonin which is a powerful hormone released in your brain that sends the message to your body that it’s night-time and time for you to go to bed. For those night-owls I suggest you download an app on your phone or computer that automatically dims the light on your device so it won’t affect your sleep.
Consistency is Key
Keep a consistent sleep and wake schedule, make sleep a priority. Your body runs on an internal clock and if you keep changing your bedtime hours and waking hours, it’ll never find the rhythm its seeking. With daylight savings, there will be more time to enjoy the sunshine so try to get sunlight exposure as soon as you wake up as it immediately signals to your body that it’s time to get the day started. This helps reset our internal biological clock that keeps us in routine.