Don’t lose sleep over losing an hour in your day when we flip the clocks ahead an hour on March 13!
We’ve all heard the adage that what has been given can always be taken away. And Daylight Savings Time is proof positive that this might be true. We delight in the fall when our clocks fall back and we’re gifted with a 25-hour day, forgetting that come spring we must return that hour – and lose 60 minutes of precious REM time in the process.
But does this lost hour have to impact us in a negative way? We think not. Especially when we can put in just a little bit of prep time beforehand. Think of it this way: we create a training plan for lots of things we want to be good at, like our favorite sport or our new job, so why shouldn’t we train ourselves for better sleep? Think of the days before the time change as Training Week – sleep training, that is – and create an action plan that will kick your spring forward hangover to the curb.
1. Plan your sleep beforehand
Do your best to get enough sleep the week before the time changes. If you’re already sleep-deprived when that clock springs forward, losing an hour of sleep is going to hurt even more. Find ways to get 7-8 hours of sleep in the days leading to that Saturday night. Next, start moving your bedtime 10-15 minutes earlier every night in the days leading up to the time change. By Saturday night, you’ll have shifted your whole schedule forward an hour so that you’re snuggled up in bed well before your usual snooze time. It may take a little effort to say No to Netflix but turning out those lights a little bit earlier will pay off when you need it to.
2. Focus on better sleep hygiene
Getting the enough quality sleep is super important during the Daylight Savings switch. And that means focusing on good sleep hygiene – creating and maintaining good habits around your bedtime to ensure you fall asleep quickly and wake well-rested. Looking for some ways to improve your sleep hygiene? Try a few of these:
- Turn off tech at least 30 minutes before bed
- Try to go to bed and wake up around the same times each day (yes, even on the weekend!)
- Keep your room dark and restful in the evening hours
- Choose a supportive mattress and comfortable bedding
- Limit stimulants like caffeine and alcohol in the evening
3. Set the clocks ahead an hour before you go to sleep
For a lot of us, worrying about when to wake up or if we’re going to wake up on time can ruin what could be a good night’s sleep. Ever tossed and turned the night before an early meeting or flight? If your clocks don’t change automatically – like those on your smart phone or cable box – set yourself up for success by changing the time before you close your eyes. That way you’ll avoid any worrying or oversleeping mishaps, like thinking you’ve got more time to hit snooze on Sunday morning.
4. Find some pre-bedtime relaxation techniques that work for you
Sometimes worrying whether we’re going to be tired the next day can be the most devious sleep ruiner of them all. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Using strategies like breathing techniques or meditation will help relax your mind and allow you to drift off easily into sleep. You can find loads of sleep-inducing guided meditations online – we recommend Insight Timer for its huge variety of meditations. If you really want to relax, go for a guided Yoga Nidra, as it’s known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system in all the best ways.
5. Stick to your schedule and get outside
Even though having a delicious lay-in is tempting, plan to get up at your normal hour on Sunday morning, and to incorporate some outdoor activities in your day. If you sleep too much Sunday morning, your Monday – when you have to get up – will be even more difficult. Instead, wake up and go to bed at your usual time, and get outside for some exercise during the day. Natural sunlight and exercising help us to be more alert while retraining our circadian rhythms to adjust to a different sleep/wake cycle.
6. Plan for a power nap the next day
If you know that no matter what you do, an one hour of lost sleep is going to knock you to the curb, give yourself permission – ahead of time – to take a short Sunday nap. That way, you won’t worry about how you’re going to drag yourself through the day because you’ve already set aside some time for some restorative shut-eye. Studies have proven that a short power nap in the middle of the day is actually beneficial to your overall health and sleep hygiene. Remember to keep your nap to 30 minutes or less to maximize the benefits and reduce grogginess. Go ahead, schedule that lie-down.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
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- Sleep better with these delish bedtime smoothies
- Your best sleep ever is a new set of sheets away