By Nikki Sunshine - November 13, 2017
Daylight Saving Time comes around twice a year, inconveniencing people all over the world. For most people, the shorter winter days can cause more stress and fatigue. Especially if you are in an industry where your company is more busy during the holidays, this can negatively effect your productivity and well-being.
Adjust Your Sleep Cycle
The time change always happens on a Sunday morning. In the case of losing an hour in the Spring, start on Thursday night by going to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal. Increase that by 30 minutes each night until you go to bed a full hour early on Saturday night. When you wake up on Sunday morning and you have lost an hour, you will still have gotten a full night’s sleep.
When it comes to gaining an hour in the Fall, reflect on how oversleeping may affect you. If you are not bothered by an extra hour of sleep, then go about your day normally as if nothing even happened. If an extra hour will throw you off, then be sure to set your alarm to wake you up an hour earlier than normal. Use that extra hour for self-care that you may not typically have time to do, like meditating, exercising or meal prepping.
Resist the Urge to Sleep In
When you lose an hour in the Spring, it may sound like a great idea to sleep in. However, if you already follow a sleep schedule, this could totally throw you off! Instead, go to sleep an hour earlier and wake up at the same time you always do- preserving your established sleep pattern.
Eliminate Caffeine and Alcohol
Toxins such as caffeine, alcohol, and even sugar in large amounts can affect the quality of your sleep. Avoid consuming these things at all on Saturday, if possible. If you must have that morning coffee, just limit your intake to mid-day so that your body has time to process these things before it’s time to wind down for bed.
Limit Screen Use
Just as toxins can inhibit sleep, so can the blue light and stimulation from mobile phone screens, computers and television screens. Keep brain stimulation to a minimum before bedtime to ensure your sleep is beneficial and not restless. Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or do something breathing and mindful meditation- but whatever you do, try not to stare at any screens. This will contribute to a restful night’s sleeping, cutting down on any negative effects from the time change.
Set a Reminder to Manually Change Clocks
Modern technology adjusts to the time change on its own. If you are used to this, it’s easy to forget to manually change any analog clocks. This can include watches, microwave or stove clocks, and the time in your car. Set yourself a reminder to change these clocks. If you forget, you will likely give yourself a slight panic attack when you get into your car and see the wrong time! We’ve all been there before.
Some can do these things and still feel sluggish and foggy from the time change. Keeping up with hydration, exercise, and healthy eating will allow your body to process this change most effectively. Many people resort to an overload of caffeine, sugar, and unhealthy foods to make themselves feel better. While you may feel better temporarily, it will likely take longer for you to adjust and get back to maximum productivity.
Keep Up with Sunlight Exposure
Sunlight is vital to the production of the hormones serotonin and melanin in your brain. According to Steven D Targum, MD and Norman Rosenthal, MD, “14 percent of the adult US population suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood changes, known as winter blues”. This can also be called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A healthy amount of sunlight exposure will help avoid falling victim to SAD when the time changes in the Fall. This can even happen in the Spring, when you lose your morning sun.