Many of us are feeling sleep deprived after the recent daylight savings time change. If you’re more lurching in to spring rather than springing, these five tips may help you adjust to the time change:
Have a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual
If checking your email and listening to the 11 o’clock news is your idea of a bedtime ritual, you may want to try a new approach. Sleep experts recommend avoiding doing anything stressful for at least a couple of hours before going to bed. Incorporating a relaxing bedtime routine sends a signal to your brain that you’re winding down. Take a warm bath, read a book, listen to soothing music and avoid anything that’s going to get your mind racing. A busy mind is a poor bedfellow!
Avoid bright light, especially blue light from various devices before bed. According to Scientific American, the blue light from our devices affects levels of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and can mess with our sleep patterns.
“Changes in sleep patterns can in turn shift the body’s natural clock, known as its circadian rhythm. Recent studies have shown that shifts in this clock can have devastating health effects because it controls not only our wakefulness but also individual clocks that dictate function in the body’s organs.”
So, switch to low light at least two hours before bedtime and try banning devices from the bedroom.
Mind Your Melatonin
A high quality melatonin supplement taken a few hours before sunset can help realign daylight savings-affected sleep patterns. Melatonin also increases total sleep time (aspect of sleep quality) and can help you fall asleep more easily, sleep longer, and wake up less frequently during the night.
Go to Bed Early
Depending on who you are and how you handle a disruption in sleep pattern, it can take a while to recoup your lost sleep—sometimes several weeks. Try going to bed earlier for the first few days after the time change. If you can get into bed even 30 minutes early, you’re working on recouping lost sleep.
Get Enough Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 plays an important role in managing your sleep patterns. A deficiency in Vitamin B can cause a decrease in melatonin production resulting in fatigue, sleeplessness and depression—depression being a major cause of insomnia. Try eating more foods that are high in B-12 like shellfish, liver, mackerel, fortified soy products and dairy. Supplements can also help get your B-12 levels up and help you on your way to a better night’s sleep.