Tips for a smooth transition into daylight saving time change
Nice, they have just changed the time in the whole country which means they saved us an hour! This phenomena, which seems to be something easy to disregard, upsets our circadian rhythm and our biological clock. So how should we prepare for the change of time and reprogram ourselves to it rapidly?
Why switch from summer time to winter time?
If we change the time each year as winter approaches, it is simply to reduce the need for lighting! The idea, according to the European authorities, is to better match the activity schedules with the hours of sunshine in winter. The only worry is that in some countries, we tend to be much more active at the end of the day than in the early morning. And because of that, electricity consumption suffers …
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These sixty minutes of delay have harmful consequences on our ability to fall asleep and on our vigilance in a waking state. Our biological rhythm can be disturbed and take some time to find its balance. However, it is more natural to switch to daylight saving time than summer time because our body adapts more easily to an extra hour of sleep. According to some psychiatrists as well as to some sleep specialists, the jet lag due to the change of time is felt on an average of eight days.
Here are some tips to adapt to the time change:
Do not wait to adapt to new schedules
First of all, the day before the change, in evening, set your alarm clock according to the “new schedule” and immediately respect it. If you happen to have an adjustable bed such as the Layla adjustable bed, make sure to raise the upper body as soon as the alarm goes off so that you will feel energized to jump out of bed soon.
Do not do as some of us do when time changes, stubbornly stall on the “old schedules”. It ends up being very difficult in this case to help our body adapt itself to its new habits. Work, meals, waking hours and bedtime, everything has to be changed from the first day. That way, you will help your circadian rhythm to be coherent in no time.
Go to bed later than usual
The day before the change of time, prepare your mind and your body: lie down an hour later to wake up noticeably at the usual time while having slept the same number of hours of sleep. If you prefer to anticipate the time change, shift your bedtime from 10 to 15 minutes during the preceding week.
Just woke up? Then get up !!
No question, especially the first time of your rehabilitation, to sleep in! Jump off the bed, open your windows and breathe deeply. Nothing better to start a new day than to be quickly exposed to the light of day.
Modify your diet
No more heavy meals and high fat in the evening! Your diet influences your sleep: adopt a frugal snack before going to bed. A hearty dinner prolongs digestion and can impair sleep. Prefer vegetable soups with meat sauces. For dessert, let yourself go to a compote rather than a heavy chocolate fondue! You will go to bed light and you will have less trouble falling asleep. You can also drink a cup of herbal tea with verbena about an hour before going to bed, as that promotes sleep and relaxation.
Take a bath before bed
If you like to take baths, add to them some chamomile salts. Immerse yourself in temperate water, light some scented candles and put on some classical music. You will be relaxed in no time! And you’ll thus be able to fall asleep much faster!
Try abdominal breathing as soon as you are in bed: you inflate the belly with inspiration and deflate it on expiration. A dozen times would be perfect. It is an excellent anti-stress that allows a better oxygenation of your brain. Besides, it’s the natural breathing of babies. And it is a precious help to fall asleep. If you have breathing difficulties, a simple adjustable bed such the Lucid 300 can help improve breathing. Adjustable beds do that by improving circulation and even opening up the airway to a certain extent.
Read before you fall asleep
Immerse yourself in a good novel, because books can be great sleeping pills! However, it is necessary to find the appropriate book. So drop the 600-page pavement on the reign of Charles the Great or the complete works of Marcel Proust, which require a lot of concentration. Choose instead a romance saga or something very easy to read. And as soon as your eyelids flutter, turn off the light and relax in your cozy blankets. In a few minutes you will be immersed in a deep sleep.
If most of the time you get tired during time changes, do not work yourself to exhaustion during the first week. Take things easy and make sure to spend time with family, listen to music, take a DVD break or read, chat with your loved ones, rest. Because there is absolutely nothing better than that to face the winter and get a restful sleep in a few days if you know to be patient and reasonable.
Although some people may be inclined to resort to sleep medications to help them adapt to the time change, experts strongly advice against it.