Are you still struggling to catch up on sleep after the time change? Are you waking up with a case of the yawns and reaching for the coffee pot first thing in the morning? Daylight saving time can throw a wrench in our sleep routine if we aren’t planning for the change. Just that one hour of sleep can make a big difference in our mood and energy levels throughout the day.
Most of us look forward to springtime, but not losing that extra hour of sleep when clocks spring forward. The slightest change and our internal system can be thrown off completely, affecting alertness, productivity, and our physical and mental health.
If you missed out on National Napping Day, you might still be feeling a little lethargic from springing forward. While you can’t change the clocks now, you can certainly improve your slumber. Poor sleep can be a real nightmare, so don't suffer from tossing and turning. If the clock says 7 a.m. but your body is telling you it’s 6 a.m., follow these helpful sleep tips to get back on a healthy sleep schedule and minimize the health risks associated with poor sleep.
1.Go to Bed Earlier
Staying up late and neglecting to stick to a consistent bedtime routine is the number one cause for waking up groggy in the morning. Regardless of the time change, you can ease your body into a healthier sleep schedule by going to bed at least 15 minutes early each night.
It doesn’t seem like much, but this small change can be quite impactful, especially for young children who oftentimes feel the effects of poor sleep more than adults. If you’re preparing before the time change, you’ll want to start three days ahead of time to ease your internal clock and circadian rhythm—if you’re just now starting a new sleep cycle, you should notice an improvement in two or three days.
2. Consistency is Key
Wake up at the same time each morning to retain a regular sleep cycle. You’ve earned the right to sleep in on the weekends, but avoid sleeping in during the workweek because it can be more difficult to fall asleep at night. Too much sleep will allow us to feel more rested in the short-term, but it will continue to throw off our schedule when we need to settle down for bed.
In fact, getting out of bed at the same time each morning is the best way to improve your sleep-to-wake functioning. Determining your rise time will help you feel more rested on a consistent basis rather than once or twice per week. Consistency at bedtime is also important, but establishing a morning routine determines the energy and success we will feel throughout the entire day.
While we’re all in favor of taking a healthy nap, if you’re still dragging after daylight saving, try to avoid napping for the next couple of days until you can get yourself back on a consistent sleep cycle that works for you.
3. Make the Most of Your Evenings
The best part about turning the clocks forward for spring is the chance to enjoy more sunlight in the evenings. No more pitch-black dinners at 4:30 p.m.—we can enjoy a nice, long evening and make the most of our time.
Open the shades or sit out on the patio to soak up all the natural light you can. A little vitamin D is good for our health, and sunlight helps to naturally reset our body clocks. When the sun sets nice and slow, your body has time to adjust and realize it’s getting close to bedtime. The same rule applies in the morning—a little crisp morning sunshine glaring into your bedroom aids in greater energy and alertness when we awake each day.
4. Get Plenty of Exercise
At least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day is good for your health, and it can help you sleep more soundly. You don’t want to exercise too close to bedtime as your body requires a couple of hours to cool down and after physical exertion. If you run a mile and then hop straight into bed, you won’t be able to unwind because your heart rate will increase due to the spike in energy.
Instead, walk around the block, go for a jog, or take a bike ride during the day or early evening while you’re exposed to natural light. Another perk of longer evenings is more time to get your exercise in. It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise during the chilly season, so spring is a great time to get back on a healthy exercise and sleep routine.
5. Monitor Your Diet
To go along with longer evenings, it’s easier to eat dinner later at night. Try to avoid eating large meals after 8 p.m. so your body still has plenty of time to digest. If you’re done with dinner and dishes earlier in the evening, this gives you more time to prepare for your bedtime routine.
Limit spicy, acidic, or fatty foods close to bedtime as they can lead to indigestion and temporary spells of insomnia. And certainly, stay away from caffeinated or alcoholic beverages late at night. They are great if you’re hitting the books or a night out on the town, but not if you’re trying to sleep a sound and peaceful eight hours.
6. Reduce Screen Time
It’s a no-brainer, we all depend on our smart devices to maneuver through our daily routine, but spending too much time watching our TV, phone, or tablet before bed can make it harder to fall asleep. A little screen time can certainly help you relax and unwind during the evening, but it’s a good idea to turn our devices off at least an hour before turning out the light. The blue glare associated with our electronic devices mimics sunlight, sending a signal to our brain that it’s time to stay energized. That's why we sleep best in a pitch-black room—the darkness simulates nighttime so our mind and body know it’s time for sleep.
Ready for Bed?
Daylight saving time can be jarring for the first couple of days, but a healthy sleep routine is vital every single day. Waking up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated starts with the right mattress. If your mattress is stiff and noisy, you probably won’t sleep soundly through the night. There's a reason we don’t use water beds anymore, so make sure you’re starting each day on a comfortable and supportive mattress.
If you’re ready to improve your quality of sleep with a new mattress, give us a call, shop online, or visit our store to shop our entire line of mattresses and sleep accessories. Catching ZZZ’s has never been easier.