Even though we’re a few days into Daylight Savings time, chances are you’re still struggling to wake up in the mornings, let alone wake up refreshed. Rise and shine ready for an early-morning workout? Not a chance.
When the time changes, it can take a few days for our internal circadian rhythm to adjust to the presence of light, or lack thereof, at certain times. Light actually suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, which helps induce sleep. Darker mornings can make your body believe that it’s still night time, just as lighter evenings can prevent you from falling asleep at your usual bedtime. This can be a huge bummer if you count on those early morning hours to get your workout in. Well don’t fret, sleepy one. We’ve got 5 tips to help YOU adjust your body clock to the time change, pronto.
- Nap not. Even though your rear might be dragging by late afternoon, resist the urge for a siesta. The ultimate goal is to get on a good night/day sleep/wake schedule, and napping during the day can undesirably tweak that cycle. Instead of laying down for some shuteye try stepping out into the sunlight for a quick 10-minute walk instead. Not only will you feel great for the brief jolt of exercise, but the sunlight will cue your body that it’s time to be wakeful and energized.
- Screen your screen time. Though it can feel relaxing to scroll through your social media feed or play games at night before bed, it can actually be messing with your sleep big-time. The light emitted from your electronics prevents the production of melatonin, much the way sunlight does. Which is exactly what you DON’T need when you’re trying to keep a new, earlier bedtime.
- Be ritualistic. You remember when you were little and you needed exactly three stories, two drinks of water, a song, and a mummy-style tuck-in before you could go to sleep at night? It turns out that your parents knew what they were doing when they were humoring you through ONE MORE reading of that story about a curious monkey going camping. When you follow a bedtime ritual your brain starts getting signals that it’s time to shut down. Try taking a warm shower, listening to relaxing instrumental music, and spritzing an all-natural lavender or Roman chamomile room spray. Before you know it, you’ll start feeling sleepy during Step One, and falling asleep a little more quickly.
- Drink wisely. Or not at all – at least when it comes to alcohol. It’s a common misconception that adult beverages aid sleep. You may fall asleep quickly, but you’re more prone to sleep disturbances and are likely to wake up feeling rather unrefreshed. Instead, make sure you’re properly hydrated, but limit liquid intake 2 hours before bedtime.
- Food matters, too. Limit consumption of spicy foods, or those with refined carbs (think white pasta, white bread, sugary foods) right before bedtime, as these foods can disrupt sleep as well. As being hungry can prevent sleep as well, snack smarter with some whole-grain crackers and cheese or deli turkey, an apple with peanut butter, or a small bowl of unsweetened oatmeal with skim milk. The combo of protein and carbohydrates can help increase the availability of tryptophan in your body, which can help induce sleepiness.