This Sunday, the 7th of October, marks daylight savings – The yearly phenomenon where we roll our clocks forward an hour in the pursuit of lighter evenings and longer days. While this is something we can all agree is positive, the loss of sleep that results from changing up our time is not. The time change, which officially sets in at 2am on Sunday (or Saturday night depending on your sleep cycle and social calendar), may seem like no big deal.
But it can actually have a really big impact – Not just on the way we spend our days from thereon out but also on our sleep health and overall wellbeing. In fact, it can take up for a week for our bodies to recover from the effects of the shift. However, if you prepare for daylight savings with a few simple tips and tricks, you may be able to fast-track the reset of your circadian rhythm and sleep hormones. Here are a few ways in which to adjust to daylight savings and save your sleep!
- Keep your bed and wake times consistent
It may be tempting to go to bed later now that it’s lighter, but doing so can really screw up your circadian rhythm. If you find yourself extra sleepy in the first few days after the time change, try to avoid taking mid-day naps, as this can also affect your ability to fall and stay asleep at appropriate times. Instead, maintain your standard sleep and wake cycle until you re-regulate.
- Start your day with exercise
Having trouble starting the day? Don’t reach for the coffee just yet and lace up your running shoes instead. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine- especially in the morning- is really helpful in increasing energy levels throughout the day while also preparing you for rest once the time comes. (Just make sure you don’t exercise too late in the day, as this can make you hyper and unable to fall asleep.)
- Practice a pre-bed relaxation ritual
It can be tricky convincing yourself to go to bed when it’s light out, as light sends signals to our body that it’s time to wake. To help you wind down, try relaxing, reading something light, listening to white noise for a bit, or doing some other calming ritual that will ease you into sleep mode. This is also helpful in attempting to sleep earlier than normal, as you may want to do on the evening before daylight savings takes place.
- Don’t rely on substances to help you sleep
Popping a pill or pouring a nightcap are just quick-fixes that may help you sleep at first, but don’t resolve the issue. Not only that, but they can actually hinder quality of sleep and energy levels… Many sleeping aids tend to cause drowsiness in the morning, while alcohol may make you pass out easily but can disrupt sleep when it wears off a few hours into the night. If you must take a supplement for sleep, opt for more wholesome natural remedies like magnesium, valerian root or melatonin.
- Spend more time in nature
Being outdoors and connecting with the natural environment is a helpful way to reset circadian rhythm, i.e. your bodies built-in clock that tells you when to sleep and helps you prepare to do so. Walking around barefoot in grass, breathing fresh air or taking a dip in some naturally-occurring water are all great ways to rebalance your circadian rhythm and promote overall calmness, which can also contribute to better rest.
While spring-time daylight savings is a great thing in many ways, it’s not worth losing sleep over. Consider these five practices to increase your energy and decrease your chances of poor sleep once daylight savings takes place.