If you’re like me, you are still adjusting to daylight savings time … even though it’s been a week since we set our clocks ahead an hour. We’re all walking around groggy and dazed because our biological rhythms are out of whack.
Our minds and our bodies are so in tune with nature that when we change our clocks, we’re affected more than we realize … If it were up to me I would do away with Daylight Savings! Maybe I should consider moving to Arizona where most of the state does not observe this crazy practice!
With our fast-paced, frazzled culture, sleep disturbances are already common in the Western world. Daylight Savings puts our circadian rhythms to the test even if we normally are able to get in our nightly 8 hours of peaceful rest.
The human brain doesn’t begin to produce melatonin and other hormones essential for healthy sleep until dark and for many people, the result of springing it forward means a lot less shut eye. This affects our moods, hunger levels, and craving for sleep.
According to recent research, disturbing a person’s circadian rhythm by even an hour is an extreme event with potentially harmful consequences (i.e., headaches, accidents at work and on the road, arguments, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic fatigue) These disturbances can also contribute to disease and in some cases lead to a heart attack.
You may feel that you adjust quickly to daylight saving time and maybe you do, however; this is rarely true. A study found that eight weeks later sleep and wakefulness patterns were still disrupted.
So are you feeling the “spring forward” repercussions? If you’re struggling to get back into your natural sleep/wake cycle, you’re not the only one. Here are some ways you can help your brain and body adjust:
- Reduce your caffeine intake or kick the habit all together. Instead, drink warm water with lemon
- Wind down 30 minutes earlier … this means turn off the television and cell phones … Set your alarm clock 15-30 minutes earlier (I set mine for 5 a.m.)
- Try to Relax and Reduce Stress in the hour before bed. Write in a journal, meditate, practice restorative yoga and deep breathing, drink some sleepy time tea, read, and/or take a hot bath with lavender essential oils
- Dim your lights or just have your little night lights on about an hour before you hit the hay
In the Morning
- Get out into the sunlight first things in the morning
Take a morning walk
- Do a few jumping jacks, push-ups, or anything to get your heart rate up
Take a cold shower
- Try a Natural, Sustained Energy Gel
- Get up at the same time regardless of when the sun rises
Hopefully, these suggestions help make the transition more a pleasant change.
Enjoy the brighter days ahead and Happy Spring!