This past Sunday we all lost an hour of sleep as the clock jumps forward for Daylight Savings Time (DST). While it means that longer days and sunny, warmer weather are on the way, it can also spell trouble in the sleep department. Sure, it doesn't have lasting effects, but the first few days can feel different — especially for those night owls, which are used to that extra hour of sleep. Just that one hour can affect our attentiveness, mood, and even appetite— as it sort of mimics the feelings of jet lag.
On that first day, personally, I usually wake up a bit more tired and don’t want to move from my bed. Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid those these unpleasant drawbacks as the clocks rewind an hour.
Shift that Bedtime
Are you prone to tossing and turning for hours, trying to go to bed when it’s still light out? Me too, sis. Me too. That's why you should try shifting bedtime. BetterSleep suggests aiming to reach bed by, at least, 15 minutes earlier each night leading up to and after the DST change. For example, if your regular bedtime is 9:00 PM, try 8:45 PM, 8:30 PM, 8:15 PM, and then 8:00 PM until you reach a full hour to make the change easier on your sleep patterns.
Who wouldn't love another good excuse to take a snooze? When the sun stays up later, we may feel a little more groggy the first couple of days after the DST time shift. Experts recommend taking power naps — no longer than 20 minutes — to help you feel more energized. The boost will prevent you from passing out before bedtime and waking up in the middle of the night.
REDUCE CAFFEINE INTAKE
As I am sure everyone knows, drinking caffeine or booze too close to bed is never a good idea if you’re looking for a night of uninterrupted sleep. Particularly around DST, alcohol and caffeine can make it infinitely harder to not only fall asleep but stay asleep. Be sure to stay extra hydrated and drink plenty of water right before bed.
Take a sleep aid
If you are having trouble falling asleep naturally, try using a sleep aid. According to the Vitamin Shoppe, supplements like B6, tryptophan, magnesium, and melatonin can immensely help during the clock change. If you're looking for even more natural remedies, try eating cherries, lean meat, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds to encourage a long, peaceful sleep. Just try and remember to not eat within an hour of bedtime because the body needs time to digest.
Magnesium is one of the best relaxation minerals on the market, and as we all know, when our bodies are fueled properly, we have a better chance of getting a good night’s rest. So, how does it help exactly? Magnesium balances the nervous system and helps relax achy muscles that can keep you up at night. You can try tablets or lotions, or if you prefer, load up on magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados to add these benefits into your diet.
Exercise is great for a plethora of health reasons, but it’s also sure to tire the body out —perfect for a clock change. That means it could also be a good time for a switch-up from the usual routine. For example, if you are used to doing a nightly routine, try switching it to the morning. Workouts can make you more productive, and in turn, help you sleep better later that night.
Turn off Electronics
Most research suggests that we should be turning off our electronics at least an hour before lights out because of the light exposure and brain engagement. Putting away our phones and tablets at night allows the mind to decompress and de-stress naturally, which also leads to a better night’s sleep. Instead of playing games on your iPhone or scrolling through Instagram endlessly on a loop, try reading, taking a bubble bath, or meditating instead.
There are plenty of soothing yoga and stretch routine out there to help get you relaxed and ready for bed. Many experts agree that stretching relaxes the mind and body, which is why bedtime yoga is so essential for a good night’s sleep. To prep for DST, try out poses like legs up the wall, child’s pose, or sun salutations to help ease your mind and spirit.
KEEP A ROUTINE
A healthy bedtime routine is always essential. And with the upcoming clock change, it's also important that your daily routine doesn't change either. Continue with your normal activities, liking eating consistently and exercising as part of your routine. Whatever it is you do religiously daily, keep doing it, sis. We don’t want our bodies thrown off, and setting a method and sticking to it is essential to surviving DST.
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