Self Care

The Time Change: Adjusting to Daylight Savings

As we approach the end of Daylight Savings each year, social media blows up with opinions on this seemingly outdated practice. Who is collecting all the daylight, and what are they saving it for?, I wondered as I got up with my dog one morning at 4:30am. Dogs can’t read clocks, and a week out my husky still isn’t back to her regular sleep schedule. She can’t figure out why we are staying up so late each night and got offended the first time I tried to send her back to bed for a few more hours of shut eye. Google “huskies singing” for some quick entertainment and to understand why it was near impossible. 4:30am wake times it is.

If you have small children, or pets, or a very regulated sleep cycle, the time change associated with the beginning or end of Daylight Savings can cause havoc in your life from a few days up to a few weeks. Internal clocks can take a while to reset and moods swings can increase. This year I noticed we went from Halloween, to a full moon, to the end of Daylight Savings all within a week. My heart went out to all the parents and school teachers and really, anyone who had to come into contact with small children. I know I felt like a hot mess, so I can’t imagine how everyone else was managing.

Here are some things I have found that help with adjusting to the time change, and will help ease into the shorter, darker days that come with it.

Use a Happy Light to Adjust to Daylight Savings

Use a Happy Light. Start in November, and use it daily until the end of March, for a minimum of 45 mins up to 2 hours. Natural spectrum light therapy is used to increase your mood, help fight off seasonal depression, and can reset your internal clock. I find that so long as I use it in the early morning, it helps me sleep better.

Wake up to natural sunrise, even if it feels like the middle of the night when your alarm goes off. This alarm clock (and other’s like it, Amazon has a bunch) begins to change the light in your room 30 minutes before you want to wake-up, so simulate the sunrise. This is a more natural way for your body to wake up vs. being jolted out of bed in the dark.

Avoid nighttime light. If your bedroom is bright due to outside lights, alarm clocks, or other sources of artificial light, consider wearing a sleep mask. This allows you to fall asleep more quickly and stay in a deeper sleep. If you are waking to natural sunrise, this could be a conflict, so you have to decide which is more important.

Consider diffusing essential oils before bedtime to create a soothing environment. Lavender, Frankincense, and Sweet Marjoram are all reported to aid in sleep function. I personally find lavender very relaxing. There are diffusers to match every decorating style and you buy them online, at big box stores, or from essential oil consultants.

Be consistent. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if it is the weekend. Eventually your body will determine how much sleep it needs to function and will set its own internal clock.

 

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