Daylight savings time can be a tough adjustment when it comes to our sleep quality. The transition of gaining or losing sunlight impacts our body’s circadian rhythm, which disrupts our sleep patterns, mood, motivation, energy and so much more. There are several key habits we can put into place that will help us sleep well all year long and adjust more easily to time changes. Below are tangible 5 tips you can put into action now before we spring forward on March 14th.
- Avoid the snooze button – Hitting snooze causes a condition called sleep inertia. Sleep Inertia is that groggy, cement eyelid type feeling due to the body repeatedly waking up to a flood of cortisol (the stress hormone) as the alarm sounds off every few minutes. Sleep Inertia can last up to 4 hours and it impairs performance, energy levels and productivity. Tip: Set your alarm away from your bed, out of arms reach. Immediately drink water, splash cold water on your face or start brushing your teeth to wake up.
- Create a sleep schedule – Set a consistent bedtime and wake up time so your body knows when its time for bed and when it’s time to wake up. This will help you to fall asleep and wake up more easily. On weekends or off days, you can give yourself 90 minutes of wiggle room without throwing your schedule completely off. Tip: Stick to your sleep schedule for 1 month as your body must adjust to it.
- Screen Time – If possible, unplug from all screens at least 30 minutes before bed. Blue light from devices and even lights in our house will keep the brain active and awake. If it’s not possible for you to stop using screens due to work or school, wear blue light blocking glasses. Tip: Blue light blockers are also great for kids and teens, especially if they are participating in virtual schooling.
- Morning Routine – Exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning and drinking a full glass of water will help the body wake up naturally and boost your mood. If you wake up before the sun, invest in a sun lamp and turn it on for 20 minutes while you are getting ready or eating breakfast. Tip: There are alarm clocks that simulate the sun rising and can be very enjoyable to wake up to. Search them on amazon. Adding lemon to your morning water is detoxifying, aids in digestion and boosts metabolism.
- Can’t fall asleep - Assuming you have avoided caffeine and alcohol before bed (which can both make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep), try adding these practices to your bedtime routine. Calming meditations, sleep stories, journaling or a sound machine can make a world of difference in helping you ease into sleep without racing thoughts or a worrisome mind. Tip: Apps with quality sleep content are Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace, Sleep Cycle or Relax Melodies.
If you need help addressing your individual sleep concerns, please reach out and we will connect you with a care coordinator to create your own individual wellness plan.