Daylight Savings Time began last Sunday, which for most of us meant losing an hour of sleep. Spring’s wind-back on the clocks is notorious for throwing people off their sleep schedule and ruining everyone’s internal clock, as well as their mood. This is why the National Sleep Foundation has deemed March 11 - 17 as National Sleep Awareness Week.
Don’t let this year’s time change take you for a loop. Daylight Savings Time is a challenge, but it’s also a great opportunity for us to reevaluate our sleeping habits. To help you adjust, we’ve gathered some tips and steps that you can take to make this year’s time shift a little easier.
Make A Sleep Pact
Regardless of whether the clocks turn forward or back, the point remains that you need a given amount of sleep to feel rested and refreshed. So, make a pact with yourself to go to bed whenever necessary to still get the hours of sleep your body needs. This may be difficult at first, but rather than shooting for an hour earlier, try going to bed just 15 minutes earlier than the day before. Soon enough, you'll have caught up with the time. (Pro Tip: Don't let the late sunrise fool you).
Set Up Your Bedroom Environment
National Sleep Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your sleeping habits as well as your sleep environment. Your bedroom should be reflective of what you are trying to achieve when you go to it: peace, quiet, relaxation, and tranquility. To set up a room that is reflective of these things just use your senses! Make sure it’s cool, dark, quiet, clean and fragrant. If you are very sensitive to sounds during the night, it may be helpful to keep a device that produces white noise on, such as a fan.
Make Relaxation Your Goal
If you’re one of those people who have trouble falling asleep, this tip will probably help you out. Many times, when we’re trying to fall asleep, we concentrate on just falling asleep when in reality we should be focusing on relaxing. Pushing ourselves to fall asleep is often counterproductive. What actually leads us to fall asleep is being relaxed! So, next time you’re trying to fall asleep, focus on loosening all your muscles and slowing your breath. You’ll be asleep before you know it — and without having to even think about.
Naps may be appealing when you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, but they may not be doing you any favors. Daytime naps deregulate your body’s internal clock and often take the bulk of your sleepiness, so when it’s time to actually go to sleep you are restless and awake. It may be difficult, but staying awake throughout the day will benefit you enormously, even if you end up falling asleep early.
Unwinding at night is as much a mental thing as it is a physical thing. You may find that you’re mentally exhausted but you can’t stop moving. This is normal if your body has not been given enough exercise throughout the day. Adding at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine can go a long way towards tiring your body and allowing you to relax and fall asleep at night. If you’re considering starting a workout regime, you may also want to consider working out outside (at least in part). Getting sunlight during the day is also an important factor in regulating your internal clock and allowing your body to slow down once it gets dark.
Daylight Savings Time is upon us and the National Sleep Awareness Week is all about helping you get through it. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to our health so, don’t let this Spring’s time change take you for a loop! For any questions on how to adjust to the time change or about your sleep disorder, contact us to book an appointment!