Raise your hand if you’ve felt the effects of clocks going back an hour this past weekend?? (puts both hands up).... it may only be an hour but it still impacts your sleep and energy levels for days to come. Don’t get us wrong, we are here AND ready for Spring. However, daylight savings can feel incredibly frustrating, especially when it falls on the same week as March break and the kids are quite literally bouncing off the walls. It can throw the entire ecosystem off for you and your kids! We’ve decided to put a positive spin on this rather inconvenient practice that occurs twice a year, using this week as an opportunity to do a sleep hygiene check-in. How have you been sleeping? Can you add in practices around daylight savings time that will support your sleep health? Most definitely! Do you have the time to do so? Debatable. Don’t worry, we’ve made it simple and easy for you.
Here are some tips to help you adjust for daylight savings & improve sleep hygiene.
#1, Try to go outside and view sunlight as soon as you wake up or within the hour window after waking. Seeing the daylight will help regulate your circadian clock even if it’s overcast and cloudy! This is an easy one to incorporate with the kids and especially attainable if you have a dog.
#2 Limit caffeine intake after noon. When the clocks go forward, you may feel like you need an extra boost in the afternoon, however, you might also have trouble falling asleep at your usual time. That extra cup of joe will hinder your ability to fall asleep naturally. Similarly, working out too close to bedtime can impact sleep and increase wakefulness by increasing your adrenaline and cortisol (hormones you don’t want pumping through your body when you’re trying to catch those needed zzz’s. While exercise is a great way to adjust to time change, try scheduling your workout sessions in the morning or early afternoon.
#3 Keep harsh, bright lighting to a minimum between early evening and your desired bedtime. Use a salt lamp, red light bulbs or try out Verre Lune's non toxic candles to help keep lighting soft and minimal. Melatonin is controlled by exposure to light and darkness, therefore, keeping your space as dark as you can make it while still being able to see, is a great way to prepare yourself for sleep. And yes, we’re going to mention what you probably already know by now, to keep screen time to a minimum in the evening, or at least reduce your screen's brightness and/or try using bluelight blocking glasses.
#4. While a cold shower is great for energy levels when practiced in the early hours of the day, a nice hot shower or bath before bed is a great way to encourage sleepiness due to the natural temperature drop that occurs after. There’s a reason why you run a bath for your little ones pre bedtime, because it helps close off the day, promote relaxation and start your evening wind down routine. Try to also keep your bedroom cool to further encourage that natural temperature drop and keep you asleep.
#5. Finally, go easy on yourself! This is a stressful week felt by everyone. Adding in some prepared meals is a great way to take the pressure off mealtimes and bring some comfort into your life. Keeping your nutrition consistent, healthy and full of nutrients when things are in flux will help with stress management and the adjustment period. Having prepared meals on hand helps to give you a bit of grace at breakfast, ensures you have a balanced lunch to nourish you through the day, and saves you energy by having a weeknight dinner on hand so you can focus on winding down before bed.