That time of the year has come and gone again – when we engage in the ritual sacrifice of an hour of quality sleep, with our only comfort being the extra hour we will gain in the fall. Appeasing the dark gods and goddesses of fatigue, however, need not require goats, virgins, or blasphemy – merely some helpful suggestions so that one can prepare for the changeover next year when we roll our clocks forward all over again. By following these suggestions, one can be sure that when the switchover happens, you’ll be one of those lucky individuals who barely notice the difference… or at the very least not as likely to fall asleep at the wheel and cause a car accident.
Adjust Your Sleep Cycle
First tip to adjusting to daylight savings time would be to alter your sleep cycle well in advance. As the change generally happens in the wee hours of Sunday evening, one method would be to set your clock an hour back on Friday night, going to sleep and waking up according to that clock over the course of the weekend. This way, you have an opportunity to adjust during a time when you (in theory) don’t have any obligations to worry about or work that could be ruined by insufficient sleep. Keep a separate clock as well if you have any engagements you have to get to over the weekend so that you can be sure you know the correct time and thus find yourself rushing off to meet a deadline, only to be an hour early.
Another method, instead of sacrificing an hour all at once, is to start several days ahead and adjust your routine in 15 minute increments. Each night go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wake up 15 minutes earlier, setting the alarm away from your bed to force yourself to get up. This way you are only sacrificing 15 minutes at a time, making the final transition into daylight savings easier to handle without a significant impact on your day-to-day.
A good workout not only leads to a better night’s sleep in the evening, but also helps to wake one up in the morning. It is best to start out early in the morning, going for a brisk jog or a run that helps to shake off the early morning fatigue – making it easier for your body to adjust to the change. It is best to avoid doing this late at night, as the chemical reactions that allow a body to wake up after a good workout could also interfere with a good night’s rest if done immediately before climbing into bed.
Opening Up the Curtains
The human body naturally views the rising of the sun as a call to wake up, with darkness as time for sleep (the circadian rhythm). As such, opening up the curtains and going outside in the morning when the sun rises helps to remind our body that it’s supposed to be up and moving, making it easier for us to naturally wake up. On the flip side, darkening one’s living space prior to bed signals our brain that it is time for sleep, so it is best to turn off one’s computer and the television and darken make your room dark and cool. By doing this, you will create an environment the body naturally associates with night, making it easier to go to sleep and wake up rested.
While the daylight savings adjustment can be a chore, with a little preparation it doesn’t have to be one. Simply by following this basic advice (most of which is beneficial for good rest in general), you can be ready for when the clocks jump forward an hour and rob you of that precious time. It might be a little late for most individuals for this year, but by keeping the preceding in mind you can be prepared and ready for the next year.
This article was written by Brennen Kliffmueller. Once a sufferer of insomnia, Brennen spent years researching and learning how to naturally get better sleep. Now on a healthy sleep schedule, he uses his knowledge to help others with their sleep problems as a professional writer for Saatva Mattress. To view more of his work, be sure to visit his Google+.