6 tips for surviving the time change

The past couple of mornings I’ve woken up extra early.  And usually I love waking up early and getting a jump on the day.  I like to spend mornings getting ahead of the game by exercising, doing some housework, and making sure all those little tasks that tend to be forgotten during the day are done.

But since the time change, I’ve been struggling to keep my eyes open after my early morning breakfast.  My body is very confused as to what time it is, and it’s creating a bit of chaos in my mind and body.

clock

But there are some things to help those of us who are having a difficult time adjusting to the new clock!

  • Exercise.  Yes, you may feel too tired to exercise, but dig deep inside and find your motivation to go to the gym or put in that exercise DVD.  Exercise releases endorphins, giving people a natural energy boost.  So when you are feeling sluggish, take a 20 minute walk outside.  It will help give you the pep you need to go about your day.
  • Be a smart napper.  Taking a 1 hour nap is not going to help you adjust to the time change, no matter how nice it sounds!  Long naps will disrupt your nightly sleep pattern, so you will wake up feeling just as tired the next day as you did today.  Try not to nap, but if you need to, take a short (no longer than 20 minute) power nap, and make it earlier in the day so it won’t disrupt your bedtime routine.
  • Don’t eat too close to bedtime.  Not only is our sleep pattern disrupted with the time change, but so is our eating schedule.  You may be hungry until later in the day.  But going to bed on an overly full stomach can really cause for a bad night’s sleep.  So make sure to eat at least 2 hours before bedtime, giving yourself ample time to digest.
  • Make it bright in the morning.  Open up the blinds, turn on lights, make the morning time as bright as can be.  This will help signify to your body that it’s time to wake up.  Do the opposite at night.  Close the shades and dim the lights, so your body will know it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
  • Create morning and bedtime routines if you do not already have one.  Routines are great at signifying to our minds and bodies that it’s time to either wake up or go to sleep.
    • Your morning routine may be to open the blinds, put on some happy music, eat a healthy breakfast and take the dog for a walk.  If you do this every morning, you will learn that this means it’s time to wake up, and your body will follow suit.
    • An evening routine may be to disconnect from all technology 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime, read a light book, take a warm bath, dim the lights in your house and listen to soothing music.
  • Don’t rely on caffeine to wake you up, or alcohol to help you sleep.  It is very tempting to reach for that extra cup of coffee to help wake you up during the day, but try to resist.  And if you are having difficulty falling asleep, skip the nightcap.  It’s best to let your body adjust naturally, and let your body wake up and calm down by natural cues like light, darkness or movement.

Give your body time to adjust.  It make take a few days to feel fully adjusted, and that’s ok.  It’s natural to have struggles when our body’s cycle changes.  So follow these tips, and by the end of the week, you’ll be feeling great!

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One response to “6 tips for surviving the time change

  1. I’ve been using the time change to my advantage. I always WANT to work out before leaving for work, but my body doesn’t always cooperate. With the time change, I’m finding it easier, and I’m hoping to trick my body into a new routine. Love your tips for evening — I have lavender epsom salts that I use in my pre-bedtime bath soaks. The scent is amazing for relaxation and the epsom salts are great for sore muscles!

    Like

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