I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend! I really, really enjoy a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night and cutting it back, even an hour, really messes with me. I hesitate to say, it may even make me a bit cranky, so I decided to do some research on how to help myself.
Here are a few simple steps that may make the transition just a bit easier for you too.
- Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier in the days leading up to Saturday night. Make every effort possible to be get plenty of sleep the week before the time change. How much sleep is that? The National Sleep Foundation has some guidelines on that.
- Maintain your regular eating and sleeping schedule. Eating earlier or later than your body is used to will cause it additional confusion. Maintain healthy nutrition (like we shouldn’t do that every day!) so you body isn’t trying to combat a lack of sleep and nutrition at the same time. If you normally go to bed at 11:00 and get up at 7:00, follow that schedule on Saturday/Sunday also. Your body’s going through enough without changing that schedule too. Plus, if you don’t maintain your Sunday schedule, Monday will be even more difficult!
- Get some additional exercise a few days leading up to Saturday. Several studies site the benefits of exercise (but not right before bed) in helping our bodies and brains wind down faster, resulting in better sleep.
- Go outside. Sunlight on your SPF-protected skin will help your body’s circadian rhythm get back in sync.
- Resist taking a long nap on Sunday. Although we may be tempted to get that lost hour of sleep back by taking a nice, long nap on Sunday afternoon, resist the urge. If you do feel like a nap is in order, keep it to around 20 minutes. Anything longer will also mess with your circadian rhythm.
Other tips from Dr. Yoseph Krespi, Director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Lenox Hill Hospital:
- Drink plenty of liquids, yet avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day.
- Make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary: dark, quiet, and cool (somewhere in the mid to upper 60’s is perfect).
- Don’t tackle any complex tasks right before bed. Your brain will find it more difficult to shut down.
- Start unwinding an hour before bed. Have a cup of chamomile tea, take a bath, relax. If you are relaxed vs. stressed when you actually make it to bed, your body will have less to do before going to sleep.
Although I’m not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend, I am looking forward to what it means . . . . Spring is right around the corner! Bringing with it the promise of more sun and more time enjoying the great outdoors!