Just when you think you have your perfect sleep schedule figured out, and you’re well adjusted to the way time works, Daylight Savings Time comes into play, and throws your entire world off-kilter once again.
While some would argue that it’s only one hour, the truth is that one hour forward or back can have devastating repercussions for some people that takes weeks, if not months, to recover from. The good news, though, is that in reality, most people adjust well after a couple of days to a week.
On November 3, 2019, the end of what began March 10 will arrive. You will “regain” your lost hour of sleep. While this might sound like a good thing, it is incredibly disruptive, especially if you already have a precarious relationships with sleep.
There are things you can do, though, to help ease the transition, and make the adjustment to brighter mornings when Daylight Savings comes to end.
Falling Back – How Bad Can it Be?
For some people, the seasonal time change is barely a blip on the radar. These are the fortunate few who never experience jet lag, and win the lottery every time they play. Unfortunately, the rest of us mere mortals can spend weeks walking around in a zombie-like haze recovering from the shocks to our systems.
It doesn’t matter if we lose or gain an hour, really. The pain of these time changes affects our health and happiness in profound and often unexpected ways.
There are some who may claim that it’s just an overreaction to the loss of so little sleep. However, there are physical manifestations and scientific data that can’t be ignored. Studies and research has revealed that the following can occur in the days and weeks following time changes:
So, while it might seem like such an insignificant event in the grand scheme of things, it can carry greater consequences than what you might believe at first glance. More importantly, it makes it more important than ever to plan ahead, and take corrective action to avoid some of the adverse consequences of the time change.
Avoiding the Negative Effects of the End of Daylight Savings Time
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the effect this time change will have on your daily life. These things are small adjustments you can make that will improve mood, increase energy, and help you experience a more positive time change experience.
Work in a Workout
Go ahead and stick to your original schedule, only work a workout into your morning routine, and see what a difference it makes. There’s nothing quite like a quick morning workout to get endorphins going, have the blood (and oxygen) circulating to your brain, and enjoying the wonders of nature bright and early in the morning. It’s a quick fix that will take you well into your day, without causing massive disruptions to your internal clock.
Avoid Long Afternoon Naps
Instead of going for long naps in the afternoon to help your body recover lost sleep at night, consider quick, 15-minute catnaps instead. These naps help you restore energy and vitality, without allowing you to fall into a deep sleep. The difference is that you wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle whatever the day and evening have in store, rather than feeling groggy and out of sorts.
Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Good sleep hygiene is essential for signaling the brain that it is time to shut down for the night, so your mind and body can get the restful sleep you require. This involves consistently doing the same, relaxing things in the 30 minutes leading up to your bedtime. It may include relaxation exercises, meditation, reading, or even stretching exercises. The key is to do the same things each night so that your body and brain understand what this means.
Change Your Mattress
Your mattress has a greater effect on the quality and quantity of your sleep than you realize. Make sure you’re sleeping on a mattress that delivers adequate support and comfort to help you get the quality sleep your body needs to recover faster when time changes, for better or for worse.
Despite all these great strides you make today to adjust to your new time reality, keep in mind that it will come to an end all too soon. Daylight Savings Time begins again on March 8, 2020 – only four short months from its end. The good news is that you can use many of the tips and tricks you learned here to assist you in your efforts to recover from the loss of an hour of sleep, and adjust to the new time reality you face.