Daylight Savings Time is Coming. Are you Ready?

Daylight Savings Time is Coming. Are you Ready?
General Health

Daylight savings time is very near, and the shorter days and longer nights can wreak havoc on you emotionally and physically. That lost hour of sleep can be killer, too, unless you’re a night owl who appreciates the sun being low in the sky a little bit longer. Moving the clocks in either direction knocks our circadian rhythms out of whack.

If you can’t pack up and move to a part of the world where there is no daylight savings time, here are a few tips for surviving the lack of sunlight – and the onslaught of Christmas decorations in stores.

1. Go Towards the Light

Light prevents the pineal gland in the brain from secreting melatonin, a hormone that produces feelings of sleepiness and regulates the body’s internal clock. As it gets darker and later, the brain produces more of the substance.  During the fall and winter, it’s important to expose yourself to light during your waking hours as much as possible to keep the cycle in check. Conversely, it’s important to avoid light at night. Install a nightlight so you don’t have to turn the light if you get up to use the bathroom, for example. Taking melatonin as a supplement may also help your sleep schedule. [1]

2. Eat Whole Foods

Eating processed foods and sugar have been shown to trigger inflammation and make you tired and lethargic, which is exactly what you’re trying to fight. Fill you plate with leafy green veggies, lean protein, good fats and complex carbs to keep your blood sugar in check. You can also naturally produce serotonin, a chemical that improves mood, by consuming plenty of good fats, like olive oil and avocado.

3. Log off and Relax

Shut off your computer and electronic gadgets. The blue light emitted from these devices make it difficult to sleep. In one study, researchers examined the effects of reading on a light-emitting device compared with reading a regular book. Those who read on an electronic device took longer to fall asleep, experienced less deep REM sleep, were sleepier the next day and had trouble waking up. Instead, create a relaxing environment and unwind by reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath. When you get out of the water and your body temp dips, it helps your brain transition into sleep mode. [2]

Read: Does Daylight Savings Really Cause Health Problems?

4. Don’t Oversleep

The warm, comfy pillows and blankets might beckon to you, but resist the temptation to roll over and hit the snooze button. Getting up early will ensure you’re good and tired that night. [3]

5. Take a Nap – A Short One

If you’ve eaten healthy, gotten plenty of sunshine, turned off your smartphone and dunked yourself in a tub of hot water and you still feel like a character from “The Walking Dead,” go ahead and take a nap, but limit it to 20-30 minutes. A short snooze can refresh your groggy brain’ improve your memory, mood and focus; and possibly even boost your immunity.

Sources:

[1] The Huffington Post

[2] Everyday Health

[3] Los Angeles Times