Daylight Saving Time for many is the first sign that Spring is finally near. And while we look forward to the days staying lighter for longer providing us with more time for outside activities, weather and temperature also play a role. All of these changes can have a big impact on your sleep and overall health.
Your Biological Clock is Ticking
Your “circadian” biological clock is responsible for telling your body when it is time to feel awake and when it is time to feel sleepy by producing more or less melatonin. And since it revolves around predictable patterns of light and darkness, any abrupt changes in your usual patterns tends to disrupt the balance.
You’re probably thinking, OK, so I might feel a little more tired, a little more crabby, and a little less alert for the week. But then I’ll adjust and get back to normal.
This would be the ideal. If your circadian clock can adjust to jet lag that spans multiple time zones, then it has the ability to cope with a time change of one measly hour. Except some findings suggest otherwise. In fact, one German study that tracked the sleep habits of more than 55,000 people found that most of us never totally adapt to Daylight Saving Time. There are more car accidents the week after the time change and overall mood can change drastically. Though the reasons aren’t entirely clear, night owls seem to fare worse than people who naturally wake up early.
Tips for coping with the change of TIME…
As more and more people are realizing the negative effects of Daylight Saving Time (aside from messing with your sleep, data shows it doesn’t actually save energy), groups continue to make petitions to get the time change repealed. And who knows? Maybe our grandkids will have no idea what Daylight Saving Time is or why anyone would bother changing their clocks.
But for now? Regardless of how you might feel about DST, we’re stuck with it unless you live here in Arizona, which doesn’t participate. And happily, there are ways to minimize the time change’s effect on your circadian clock so you aren’t walking around like a zombie for the rest of the month. A few to try:
1. Prepare over a few days. Give your body time to adjust by gradually going to bed 15 minutes earlier over the course of three or four nights before the change and if you can get up 15 minutes later (start tonight). Seriously, sleep affects your hormones, so little changes can make big differences.
2. Embrace the power of nap. If you possibly can, take a 10 to 20 minute snooze or meditate in the afternoon. This is long enough to leave you feeling refreshed, but not so long that you’ll have a hard time falling asleep later.
3. Exercise, always. Studies have shown regular exercisers tend to sleep better than sedentary folks. Plus, now that it is lighter out later, you really have no excuse. And if you are adjusting from an indoor exercise routine to an outdoor one, adjust gradually and take extra caution on slick wet surfaces.
4. Make 8-Hour sleep a priority. Most of us are already suffering from chronic lack of sleep, meaning DST simply makes an existing problem that much worse. By getting eight hours every night, you’re guaranteed to feel more energized — no matter what the clock says.
Change in the Seasons: Adjusting to the Change in Weather…
Okay, so you’re just getting your bearings on the whole time change, now comes the changes of the Season. Weather, activities and for many of us our levels of those activities change dramatically. Those living in Four-Season climates tend to migrate from our indoor hibernation dens to more physical outdoor activities. Exercise is great to kick in those endorphins and adrenals, but it is a Change for our physical bodies as is our exposure to temperatures.
5. Be gentle with yourself. If you have been less active this Winter, start slow! Work your way up to more and more physical activity. Sometimes it is difficult to restrain ourselves after inclement weather that kept us indoors, but refrain from jumping in and running a marathon or a 10K because you need to get your body and your muscles in condition. (And when you do take it too far – don’t forget our Inflammation Relief Therapy!)
6. Eat in Season. There are wise things to be said about eating for the seasons. Foods that are currently in season have profound effects on the needs of our bodies at the time they are ripe! In the winter, we eat root vegetables and squashes, high in Vitamin D since we are getting less of it from the sun. In the Spring enjoy ripe, healthy fruits and vegetables like raw, organic bell peppers and Spring leafy greens high in Vitamin C and packed full of antioxidants. These lighter vegetables and fruits have cleansing properties and move us from the energy of winter foods that we need to keep us warm, through the transformation we need for more physical activity Spring brings. Tune in and see if your body begins to crave lighter foods.
7. Drink. Plenty of water is a must. Your body can adjust more quickly to heat and activity when you are well hydrated. Opt for drinks that can both increase energy and mood levels, but resist the urge to resort to high caffeine intake. We have great recipes on our Healthy Alternatives Board on our Pinterest site, check it out.
8. Supplemental Help. Try adding more B-Vitamins for energy and Tumeric and MSM for inflammation. Maybe some Chamomile tea to help with sleep and Peppermint to help with alertness. And keep up the Vitamin D especially if you work indoors, as most of us still do not get anywhere near the 2000 IU per day recommendation.
9. Bearing the Pain. Changes in barometric pressures, temperature and humidity can influence pain levels for those with joint and nerve pain. Anti-inflammatory foods and supplements listed above may help, and keep our Joint Pain Therapy close by.
10. What to wear. Layers layers layers. Don’t be caught either too hot or too cold as your body suffers from either. Wearing layers in the Spring to easily add or remove is key. More of our energy is expended with the fluctuation of the changing ambient temperature. This “silent” use of energy often goes unnoticed. And, it is time to break out those bright colors to help change your mood and look great in the process. Who doesn’t get a boost by looking and feeling fantastic!
Spring Forward can be a real challenge to our body clock. We hope these simple tips help you to smoothly emerge into the Light of longer days with vitality and help you welcome Spring with new vigor!
Becky, Elizabeth, Sean & Tammy
Your Customer Service Team