March has officially arrived! The third month of the year brings a multitude of emotions. Many of us are hopeful that the coldest winter days are behind us, excited knowing that spring is right around the corner and perhaps a bit anxious after realizing that the start of Daylight Saving Time is less than 48 hours away.
You might be surprised to learn that that anxiety is not exactly unwarranted. While some of us may have no problems springing forward, others may not fare as well. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, some people can take up to seven days to adjust to the time change, though it might feel even longer! Anyone has ever experienced a sleepless night will empathize with these unlucky souls knowing that a lack of sleep can have a serious impact on mood, productivity and alertness.
We know that losing an hour of sleep is not exactly anyone’s preference, but it means that the Spring Equinox is only weeks away! The best way to create a better transition is by planning ahead. Follow these tips to start preparing your body for the new season:
- Go to bed earlier
The AASM recommends that people start adjusting their sleeping and waking times by 15-20 minutes two to three days before DST. If you start going to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight, it will only feel like you are losing another 15 minutes on Saturday night, instead of the full hour.
- Establish a healthy bedtime routine
To effectively get to sleep on time, you’ll want to make sure you include relaxation before bedtime. Engage in an activity that calms you, such as taking a bubble bath, reading a book, or meditate. Whatever you decide to do, stay away from your mobile devices. The blue light from these electronics suppresses melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep. Read through other reasons why you should consider putting the phone down at least 30 minutes before getting your shuteye.
- Soak up the morning sun
On Saturday and Sunday morning, try to get out in the sun – even if it’s just sitting in a window. We may spend much of our days indoors, but don’t forget that sunlight still helps regulate our sleeping patterns. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the sun will alert our brains and set our bodies into motion.
- Plan to nap on Sunday afternoon
Ideally, on Sunday morning, you would be waking up your new waking time (15 minutes earlier), but treat yourself to an afternoon nap. Make sure that you’re not snoozing too close to bedtime and try to keep it short. Studies show that most people do best when allowing 10 to 15 minutes for napping.
What other tips do you have for surviving DST? Let us know in the comments below.
Here at Lions Pride, we are also not thrilled with the idea of losing a precious hour of sleep when springing forward, but we keep trying to remind ourselves that winter is almost through. Always remember to look for the bright side and enjoy the passage to spring!