Twice a year, Americans go through the ritual of moving their clocks forward or back. It seems simple enough yet can cause chaos with your routine and sleep schedule. Not being prepared for the time change can cause more harm than just feeling tired. The best way to prevent a lack of sleep is to prepare for the time change.
Try these techniques during the next time change so that you can sleep better.
The Time Change Affects More Than Your Sleep Schedule
The biggest struggle people have with the time change is the feeling that they lack sleep. They wake up feeling groggy and tired from a lack of sleep or from sleeping too long. Feeling tired is only the start of the struggle. The time change can negatively impact many more areas of your life.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain struggles with memory, learning, and complex decision-making. You may notice that your mood is more negative. Your immune system can be weakened, making you more susceptible to getting sick. Your metabolism slows, causing you to gain weight more easily. A consistent lack of sleep can lead to more serious medical issues, such as stroke, heart attack, fatal car accident, or workplace injury.
Have a Consistent Schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day for the most restorative sleep. This trains your body to expect a certain routine. As it comes time to sleep, your body is already transitioning into sleep mode. Then you will begin to naturally wake up at the right time each morning as your body achieves the required amount of sleep. In addition to having a schedule, you should also have a sleep routine. Thirty minutes before your bedtime, start a routine of winding down, reducing stress, and getting ready for bed.
Prepare For the Time Change
Once you have a consistent routine in place, it is easier to prepare for the time change. Start a few days before the big day by adjusting your schedule by 15-20 minutes. Then, shift your routine forward in the spring and back in the fall. Doing this two to three days in advance will help you shift your schedule by the hour change when it finally happens. Making the change in small increments also makes it easier to adjust gradually than adjusting to one large hour-long change on a single day.
Create the Right Environment
Having the ideal sleeping environment is key to helping you fall asleep at a reasonable time. Avoid having electronics in your bedroom, including cell phones, laptops, tablets, and tv. The screen on these devices emits a blue light that negatively affects your circadian rhythm and causes your body to suppress melatonin production. Separate your sleeping space from other activities, like work, school, or hobbies. These are all activities that activate the brain, which trains your brain to wake up. You don’t want your brain to associate your bedroom with waking up to do these activities.
It’s also important to outfit your bed with a mattress and linens that are soft, supportive, and breathable. You don’t want a mattress that’s too firm or too soft because it won’t give you the right amount of body support. Adding a mattress topper to your older mattress can bring new life to your bed. A premium memory foam mattress cradles your body for the ultimate comfort. The Serene Hybrid Mattress Topper gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll enjoy the supportive quality of memory foam with the plush comfort of a down pillow top cover. The memory foam is gel-infused to give it a cooling quality, preventing you from getting too hot.
Spend Time Outdoors
Exposing yourself to natural daylight is a perfect way to reset your circadian rhythm. Spend some time outdoors, especially in the morning. This helps your body to adjust to your new schedule. Morning light helps your body wake up faster by triggering it to stop the production of melatonin. Use your time outdoors to get a little physical activity by going on a walk, running, hiking, or riding a bike. Physical activity will help your body produce endorphins, which improve your mood. In addition, the exercise will help you fall asleep faster and get a more restful sleep.
Nap in Moderation
There’s nothing wrong with taking a short nap during the day to catch up on sleep. However, you don't want to nap too late in the day. You don’t want your napping to interfere with your next night’s sleep. You also shouldn’t nap for too long. Limit your napping to no more than 20 minutes. Otherwise, you risk waking up feeling more groggy than when you went to sleep.
Sleep better through this fall’s time change with a supportive and breathable mattress topper.