As April approaches the days are getting longer and the weather is starting to improve. This time of year also brings with it Summer Daylight Savings Time. As we ‘spring forward’ we lose an hour in the morning to gain an hour in the evenings.
Unfortunately this means we lose an hour of sleep on Sunday and feel like we are playing catch-up the rest of the week following.
Not to worry though, here are a few tips you can use to keep your rhythm going this weekend:
- Use the light to your advantage. Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. So it is important to expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible and conversely, do not expose yourself to bright light when it is dark outside. For example, if you get up at night to go to the bathroom, do not turn on the light. Prepare beforehand by installing a night light.
- Resist those naps. If you resist the urge to nap when you change you clocks, you are more likely to be ready for bed when the clock says it is late. Instead of napping, try a brisk walk around the block to brighten your afternoon. But if you desperately need some extra sleep, it is a good idea to limit yourself to a 20 minute power nap.
- Create good sleep prep habits. Sleep preparation or sleep hygiene is a term used to describe those actions you can take to create sleep-friendly environments and enhance your chances of falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping soundly. Basic sleep hygiene includes reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol, exercising several hours before bedtime, creating calming rituals before bed to gradually relax yourself (taking a hot bath for example), and wearing ear plugs and eye masks, to name a few.
- And for those who really have problems adjusting, why not start early? Instead of waiting until Sunday morning to make the time change, adjust your clocks Friday night or Saturday morning and live on the new time all weekend. Of course if you do go with this option, we’d advise only changing one clock in the house to base your new daily routine on so you are still on time before the actual time change.
If you continue to have problems with sleeping, there could be another underlying cause. If you think this is the case, we can help you get to the root of the problem and develop a treatment plan to improve it. Contact us today to find out more.