Whether it's the annual change to and from daylight savings time or drastic time changes as you travel across several time zones, your sleep habits can see a fair amount of disruption. Gaining hours here, and losing hours there will eventually take a toll on how much, and how well you sleep.
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Making adjustments to your sleep patterns can be hard on your body because your internal clock is ticking away regardless of what time zone, or daylight savings time you may be in. There are a few tips from The Mayo Clinic on how to ease into these time adjustments and get the most out of the sleep time available to you. Let's take a look at what they have to say about getting through the upcoming time change without too much worry regarding your sleep habits.
Adjusting Your Internal Clock Gradually
Getting through a time change can be easy if you properly prepare your sleeping habits. Regardless of the time change, either fall or spring, gradually adjust your sleep and wake times in small increments.
Usually, 15 to 30-minute increments a few weeks prior to the time change event and your body should be right in tune with the new times for sleep.
Get In The Sun
Sunlight is one of the biggest advantages to maintaining your sleeping patterns. Not only does it help regulate your circadian rhythm (when to wake up and when to go to sleep), but it also provides a natural dose of vitamin D, which is essential for overall health and well-being.
Exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning can help signal to your body that it's time to wake up and start the day. This can be especially helpful during the darker winter months when natural sunlight may be limited. On the other hand, avoiding bright lights and screens in the evening can signal to your body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
In addition to regulating your sleep-wake cycle, sunlight has been shown to have mood-boosting effects. Sunlight exposure triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. This can help combat symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons.
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
Essential oils are the oils extracted from certain plants to be used in aromatherapy. There have been studies on the effectiveness of these oils to reduce stress and anxiety to promote a sense of well-being and be conducive to sleep.
Oils such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, bergamot, rose, sandalwood, and vanilla are known to have these sleep-inducing properties. These oils are used in diffusers or can be applied in small amounts to a cotton ball and the cotton ball placed inside your pillowcase. Pillows and sleep masks are often infused with these oils and are advertised as being a healthy alternative to sleep-aid medications.
Experiment Before the Time Change
In the days or even weeks leading to a time change take it upon yourself to go to bed early or to avoid things like caffeine or electronics just before bedtime.
Sometimes a lightweight snack of a piece of fruit, plain yogurt, or almonds can promote a healthy night's sleep.
Prepare in advance for the time change by taking a mandatory 30-minute nap on a daily basis before the time change. Try not to nap longer than 30 minutes, or you could end up feeling a bit groggy for the remainder of the day.
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