How To Get Through The Daylight Savings Transition

Meet Riley - he doesn't like Daylight Savings Time either.

Meet Riley - he doesn't like Daylight Savings Time either.

I've been having an awfully hard time transitioning with this daylight savings thing.  It was hard enough for me to move to a different time zone in October and here it is happening all over again!  It's amazing what one simple hour time change can do to your body, especially when it's not going in the direction that we'd prefer.

The whole "getting to sleep and waking up without hitting snooze on the alarm five or six times" issue is what most people tend to complain about.  After all, how many people actually love waking up before the sun rises?!  That one tiny little hour is enough to put you back into the dark zone when you wake up.  At least the birds are still chirping...

So what can be done about this?  Thankfully, a few things.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a saviour for daylight savings time.  An amino acid derivative of tryptophan, our bodies require melatonin for our sleep-wake cycles to function properly.  Taking melatonin orally is an excellent supportive way to encourage your body to reset the clock.  I prefer prolonged-release melatonin over the typical over-the-counter stuff because it's great for helping people not only get to sleep but stay asleep too.  And remember, less is more.  A 5mg tablet may not necessarily work "better" than a 1.5mg dose.  

An added bonus on melatonin: it's amazing for jet lag.  Start taking melatonin while on the plane to a new time zone, then nightly while you're away and for about a week when you get home.  You'll notice that it's easier to adapt to the new time zone faster as well as recover when you're back.

Relax and Rewind

Rituals and habits are important for following through with health-related goals.  Creating a great before-bed "ritual" for yourself can help remind your body that it's that time to chill out and get ready for sleep.  Avoid things that are going to stimulate the nervous system, such as TV and bright lights.  Check out point #5 of my previous post to get more details on why this is so important.

Try forming relaxing habits like reading, meditating or journalling before bed with a great cup of sleepy-time tea.  We just happen to have the best chill-out tea I have come across at the clinic, with calming herbs like valerian in it that can help you destress, relax and get to sleep.

Stop Hitting Snooze!

This point is the one I struggle with the most.  I'm definitely that person who tells Siri to snooze the alarm at least three times before I finally get up (the ultimate lazy man's technique, I don't even have to move my hand to physically hit the snooze button - an amazing feature of Apple's new IOS!).  It sounds nice to get a few extra minutes of sleep but it's certainly not a good way to form constructive habits.  Not to mention those extra 27 minutes of interrupted sleep at 9 minute intervals is not remotely restorative.  If you want your body to learn to wake up at the new daylight savings time, you're going to have to take the five minutes of pain and force your body out of bed.  Doing this will help your body learn to reset itself naturally and you'll be more likely to feel tired at an appropriate bed time too.

Morning Movement

I don't care what you do, as long as you do it.  Exercise boosts feel-good endorphins, gets the blood and lymph circulating, and increases metabolism and oxygenation to the tissues.  In a nutshell, it's going to help you feel more awake.  It doesn't have to be anything strenuous, even 20 minutes of some basic yoga can provide all of the above benefits.  Try squeezing some exercise into your morning routine over the next couple weeks at least and you'll reap the rewards of more AM energy and less daytime fatigue.  If you're wanting a simple, short and fun yoga sequence for your morning, check out this PopSugar Fitness yoga routine.  

Let's not let daylight savings be a bully anymore!  Try these simple tips and get out of the rut.