How to Prepare for the End of Daylight Savings
Another year, another Daylight Savings. While most of us tend to change our clocks and do our best to adjust, there are more comfortable alternatives to ease into this time change. With a little preparation, you can set yourself up for a better time change and avoid the fall-back drain!
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
What is sleep hygiene? In a nutshell, it involves a combination of lifestyle and environmental changes that help you fall asleep better, stay asleep longer, and achieve a deeper sleep level.
Some of the lifestyle changes you make could include avoiding caffeine after noon, reducing your alcohol intake before bed, and creating calming habits in the hours leading up to bedtime. One of the most significant changes to make also includes shutting off screens an hour or so before bed—the blue light can disrupt your melatonin production, inhibiting your sleep cycle.
Environmental changes will augment the lifestyle efforts you’ve made. Ensure your bedroom is dark, with no light leaking through from windows, doors, or even alarm clocks (you can turn it away from your face). Wearing a sleep mask can also help. Temperature, noise, and the textures of your PJs and sheets also make a difference.
Keep the Same Schedule
You might feel as if you’re getting an “extra” hour of sleep in the mornings, and who doesn’t love that? But we recommend easing into this new schedule incrementally. You may also get a head start and change your sleep/wake times in the weeks leading up to the change, so you’re ready to go.
But if you’re reading this without the luxury of time to prepare, you’re not doomed quite yet! Get started as soon as you can. Instead of sleeping an extra hour at first, sleep an additional 15 minutes, and add 15 more minutes each week until you’ve fully acclimated. Try the same method with meals.
Avoid making drastic changes to the other items on your schedule. If you work out, keep going. Even though it gets dark earlier in the day than you’re used to, don’t let that trick your body into thinking it’s bedtime at 6pm. Continue your routine, and your circadian rhythms will be happier.
Any time change, whether it’s Daylight Savings or from traveling, can make you tired. Your first instinct might be to take a nap, but this is counterproductive to keeping your nighttime sleep patterns on track.
When you start to feel fatigue set in, get up, walk around, and find an activity to do instead. Drinking a large glass of water can also work wonders! Contrary to what you might think, don’t reach for something with caffeine—this will cause an even worse crash and keep you awake.
Try a Daylight Lamp
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually begins in the fall after the time change, and it can continue through spring. This type of depression can make you feel incredibly exhausted and experience the “winter blues.”
The sunlight naturally prompts your body to produce vitamin D, but getting sunlight is challenging when it’s dark before and after work. Investing in a daylight lamp could help you produce that valuable vitamin D because it mimics the sun’s natural light.
Experts recommend using it at the beginning of the day, so turning it on for 15-20 minutes while you’re in the bathroom to get ready could be a great way to multitask. Research indicates that it boosts serotonin and melatonin production, which regulate your sleep cycles.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider
If making changes to your sleep hygiene, schedule, and using a daylight lamp aren’t enough to beat these blues, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Some people may require other interventions that can only be provided by a professional.
They may do a full health workup and blood panel to ensure there aren’t other underlying causes for your mood. You might have a vitamin D deficiency or thyroid disorder, for example. They may recommend a melatonin supplement or another intervention based on their findings.
The important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to suffer for six months. Take care of yourself and seek care when you aren’t feeling your best.
Sleep is critical to your overall health and well-being, so taking care of your sleep patterns is crucial. It promotes healing, immune health, and better mental health, to name a few benefits. Read our full article on the benefits of sleep here: https://meetdanu.com/2020/09/08/how-to-get-better-sleep-in-stressful-times/