Clocks in North America will march forward by one hour but many of us who live on the continent will be left behind with a significant disruption to our sleep patterns.
Even though it’s just one hour out of 24 – just 4.2% of the earth’s rotation on it’s axis – the time change causes sleep deprivation because it impacts our circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark and affect most living things, including animals, plants, even microbes. As a result of our circadian rhythms, we sleep at night and are awake during the day… well, most of us do.
The hit to our circadian rhythms in turn throws us off-schedule and the amount of sleep loss starts to pile up.
To counter that, here are four tips that should help you get through the week.
1.) Early to bed…
In the days prior to the time change, go to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier each day to adjust gradually. Wake up a bit earlier as well as you adjust. Your body will thank you.
2.) Let the sun shine in…
Light is the most important factor in adjusting our bodies’ internal clocks. Open the shades upon awakening to get the day started. Conversely, at night limit your exposure to similar light including the LCD displays on smartphones and laptops.
3.) Eat well and be merry
You may not be merry if you can’t easily adjust to the time change but small changes in diet can help at this critical juncture. Eat a protein laden breakfast including eggs and Yoghurt along with fresh fruit. Limit caffeine intake once the noon hour strikes. Finally, skip that after-dinner cocktail. Alcohol is a well-known cause of sleep disruption.
4.) Slow down at night.
Prepare for bedtime by avoiding stressful activities. Instead, listen to relaxing music and perhaps read a book. One that’s printed on paper, of course.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)