So it’s been a couple of days now since we lost an hour of sleep, and some of us may not be feeling 100% rested yet. Those 5 tips we shared in our last blog will really help you adjust. But truth be told, you’ll have to follow the tips to feel their beneficial effects. Let’s take a deeper look at five ways to help you adjust:
- Maintain your normal sleep patterns. The Return on Investment is not as good if sleep and wake times vary. This is true even if your total amount of sleep time is the same. The quality of sleep is just not there. It’s more fragmented. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. This trains your body to follow a consistent sleep/wake rhythm.
- Eliminate sleep deficits. The body doesn’t store sleep, but it accumulates a sleep debt. Every hour of sleep deprivation is like carrying an additional bag of rocks. This deficit is not relieved by one night of prolonged sleep. Instead, it requires good and additional sleep over seven to ten days. If in high school you needed 8 hours of sleep and now you’re getting by on 6 hours, you’ll need to build in more sleep time. It’s not so bad. You can make it a March Madness Resolution. Adequate sleep improves efficiency, problem solving, and—if you ask everyone else—it makes you less grumpy.
- Kill the lights. Melatonin is called the hormone of darkness, working to turn off the body clock at night, while light suppresses melatonin output and delays the onset of sleep. To fall asleep faster, simply reduce bright lights and stop working on your computer an hour before you go to sleep.
- Enough is enough. Anger and excitement are alerting stimuli. They keep the brain clock (circadian clock) from turning off. If you’ve ever received an upsetting phone call at lights out, you know what I’m talking about. Avoid stimuli at bed time. Build in 30 minutes of relaxation before bed. It starts your sleep engine quicker—and you deserve it. Exercise two hours in advance of going to sleep may help. Working out can help clear your mind, and relax your body. Exercising within any closer to bed time is not recommended. With the core body temperature still rising, falling sleep may be more difficult.
- Kick late-night meals and wine Feeling refreshed in the morning depends on the quality and quantity of sleep. Alcohol has a rebound effect, making you drowsy or tired at first and then causing you to wake up frequently. Late night meals fill your bladder and scream reflux, altering your digestive process and making it harder to fall and stay asleep. Both alcohol and food provide extra visits to the bathroom. Try giving yourself a 4-hour no-fly-zone between large meals/alcohol and bed. What about late-night business meetings? I tell people to do what I do: order ginger ale. No one cares, and you are mentally sharper.
If you really want to “Spring ahead” the week after Daylight Saving Time adjustments, just follow these tips and you’ll Rediscover Great Sleep.™
What about your experience? Have any of these tips worked for you?