March 11, 2016

Spring Forward on the Right Foot this Year!


It’s that time of year again and it seems the majority is experiencing a mix of emotions at the onset of another Daylight-Savings Time.  In the wee hours of the morning, at approximately 2 a.m. local time this Sunday, March 13 we’ll lose an hour and our clocks will “spring forward.”  The good news, of course, is more hours of daylight to enjoy each day as we head into spring and summer months!

The bad news?  We’ll each be deprived an hour of sleep between Saturday night and Sunday morning.  The aftermath of one hour of lost sleep may seem trivial, but for some, especially children, adjusting can be brutal!  Below are some tips to help you survive the ‘springing forward’ transition this weekend!

On Saturday:

  • WebMD recommends a healthy dose of vigorous exercise around midday. “Exercise helps advance the body clock, just as bright light exposure does,” explained Dr. David Glass, PhD, a biological sciences professor at Kent State University in Ohio, to WebMD.  Additionally, exercise releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust.
  • However, be cautious not to exercise too late in the day and raise your body temperature. “People get sleepy as their body temperature goes down, not when it’s elevated,” added Dr. Glass.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch.
  • Be mindful of your activities before bed. Halt any tasks an hour before bedtime, especially those involving your mobile phone or lap top as the blue light they emit can be harmful to sleep.  Refrain from discussing emotional issues at bedtime.
  • Don’t overindulge in a heavy meal or alcohol before bed as that’s a surefire way to stunt your sleep.

On Sunday:

  • Set your alarm and get out of bed at your regular time, regardless of if you’ve had a good night’s sleeping. Trust us, delaying the inevitable will be much worse on Monday.
  • Open the blinds first thing or brighten the lights. Light can help your body’s circadian rhythm readjust so you can asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly.
  • If at all possible, spend some time outdoors! “That’s hard for folds to do, but it’s very important.  Sunlight is especially helpful in advancing your body clock,” said Dr. Glass.
  • Take a brisk morning walk as an easy way to fit in your exercise and thus advance your body clock, applying the same principle you did on Saturday.
  • Resist the urge for an afternoon nap! If you simply must take a siesta, nap early in the day and for no more than 20 minutes.
  • Employ the same sleep tips from Saturday night (and every night for that matter). Before you know it, you’ll be back on track again!

What tips have you found helpful as you adjust to the time change?  Let us know!

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