If you're lucky enough to go through "daylight savings" (insert sarcasm), you may notice the effects it has on your body. Here are some tips that can help you navigate this change so your health doesn’t get all wacko!
I’m not a big fan of changing the clocks. It wrecks your circadian rhythm! Studies show how accidents increase by 6% during daylight savings changes. It’s true, I see many more car accident injury cases during these times. In the fall, it really sucks because the sun starts to set at around 3-4 pm! Boo!!!
Tip 1: Stick to your regular schedule and then slightly adjust your schedule. If you’ve been going to be at 10 pm, then you want to get to bed by 9 pm. You can then transition your body into going to bed later incrementally…15 min later, then 30 min…etc. Basically, you want to keep your same sleep and wake-up time.
Tip 2: As the days grow shorter you’ll notice that the sun may not rise when you’re getting up. This is what your body is geared toward. We need fall/winter in our lives to reset our melatonin cycles. It’s not good to have summer all year long. There are some of you who may live in the higher latitudes that have significantly shorter days, I highly recommend getting either a full spectrum lighting unit inside your house or this thing that looks like an iPod called Human Charger. It shines full-spectrum light into your ears which stimulates the photoreceptors much like how the sun would. For those of you in the equatorial latitudes, you’ll have to be diligent with shutting down the lights at sundown and make sure to cut down on LCD device usage (if you have to, be sure to have your blue light blocking lenses on). A good practice to incorporate: get exposure to the morning sun every single day to reset your circadian rhythms.
Tip 3: If you notice having difficulty getting to bed at your “normal” time, try passionflower, lavender oil, magnesium (CALM is really good for this or an Epsom salt bath with lavender oil), 5-HTP, Melatonin. Basically, you want to increase your melatonin production earlier in the evening and typically we start blasting our artificial lights earlier in the evening since the sun is setting earlier, this isn’t a bad thing, but most people leave these lights on (refer to tip 2). If you’re feeling a little “blue” get some serotonin boosters into your diet.
Tip 4: Focus more on your meditation and relaxation practices. Especially in the fall months, a time when we’re typically focusing more on gratitude and spending time with our loved ones. Now the reason why I say focus on relaxation at this time is that studies show that heart attacks increase during fall/winter months when the climate is typically cooler. The altered sleep patterns will increase stress hormones increases overall inflammation.
Tip 5: Become more active. I feel like a sloth every time change and the only thing that helps me is to have higher levels of low-impact activity. Go for a walk. Play some fun sports. Just move!
For those who are impacted by daylight savings, these tips will help you to support your body.
I'd suggest listening to a couple of key podcast episodes I've done interviewing Dr. Michael Breus on Chronobiology and Shawn Stevenson on how to Sleep Smarter
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