The dreaded Daylight Savings Time where we lose an hour of sleep instead of gaining one. This can really affect you and members of your home. Fortunately, this year the change comes on a weekend instead of a workday. For those that work the weekend, I sympathize. It is important to prepare in advance so that we can minimize feelings of jet lag, irritability, and sleep deprivation. Follow this advice if you have experienced urges in past DST’s to chug a Trenta iced coffee then immediately purchase another, set your husband’s Xbox on fire, or “accidentally nap for 6 hours” out of the day.
Start sleeping earlier. A few days before the big change start going to bed 30 minutes earlier. This will help your body adjust to the change and help you fall asleep faster.
Set your home clocks mid Saturday. This will trick your brain into already thinking it’s later. Then you can eat dinner earlier and prepare for bed at an earlier time.
Work out. Early in the day, do a high intensity work out. Releasing energy will tire you for later and relieve stress levels to make sleep easier. Don’t work out late in the evening because that will make it harder to sleep from all the adrenaline coursing through you.
Turn out the lights. We are perceptive to even the smallest amount of light. Melatonin is our natural sleep hormone that is produced when it is dark to aid in the sleep cycle. 30 Minutes before bed turn out all light and electronics. This will especially help kids adjust easier to the new schedule.
Follow routine. Sticking to a routine is imperative to your evening. Good evening routine whether children or adults will pay off. Doing the same thing every nigh before bed will signal your brain that rest is near. These can be simple things such as reading, shower or baths, brushing your teeth and putting on pajamas.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. This may seem obvious but many still don’t follow this sound advice. Stop any energizing beverages after 4pm. There is a common misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. While it may get you to sleep faster, it keeps you from entering REM stage for extended periods of time. This means you are getting much less good and deep sleep and much more light sleep.
DST doesn’t have to be a struggle every year. The older I get the more I need my beauty sleep as opposed to my college days when I could sleep for a few hours before an exam and still pass. Don’t feel like that college student this year. You are a mature adult individual who can handle DST now. I believe in you.