As someone who has a broken internal clock, I never understood what the big deal about surviving daylight savings time (DST) was all about. It had no effect on me. I function on 4 hours of sleep, doesn’t matter when I get that sleep. I had myself convinced that Daylight savings time was a myth and my husband was just being dramatic. Then, I tried to get healthy.
This year, I decided that I was going to get healthy. Sitting on your rump for 4 months with a broken leg will do that to a person. I did what everyone does on the first of the year, I promised to myself that this would be the year that I got “healthy” not skinny, just healthy; no longer obese with a BMI of 33 or something like that. I’d look it up for you but, honestly, I’m just too tired today. Daylight Savings Time, you are killing me Smalls!
See, part of my get healthy scheme included seeing my physician for a physical, to rule out any medical issues, moving more, making better food choices more often and eating in appropriate quantities for my size and stature. It wasn’t a scheme at all; it was a plan to live healthier. No more putting my faith and health in the hands of a diet. I need to do this for myself, the right way.Guess what happened? I lost some weight. Not a lot but enough to get out of my dreaded fat pants and into the regular size section.
But all that working out (I enjoyed it so much that I actually developed tendonitis from working out every day and had to pull back to every other day…that hasn’t happened to me in years) and eating more conscientiously had an added benefit of me actually falling to sleep…by 11 p.m. every night, without any sleep aid. I’ve been a diagnosed insomniac for all of my adult life so this was HUGE.
So there I was thinking I was hot shit with my lower BMI, smaller pants, working out to my CIZE dvd and eating healthier; feeling like a boss with almost 8-hours of sleep every single night. OMG…it changed my life, for real. Life just seemed easier and more palatable. The stressors were not as stressful and I found myself not being a super b*tch and hangry hasn’t hit in a couple months. Then DST came and jacked me all up.
Sunday morning, I slept in until 10 a.m. and I only woke up because my mom and sister were visiting and they wanted to head home and got tired of waiting for me to wake up, but at least I slept in. By the time Monday rolled around, after staying up until midnight because I wasn’t sleepy at my regular 11 p.m. (because it was only 10 p.m.) when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I could not move, exhaustion had set in. I literally could not wake up and neither could my kids. All bets were off and snooze was on full blast.
I had finally gotten my body to a healthy place of rest, eating and working out and now it was having none of this not enough sleep B.S.! This morning, it was even worse. I lay in bed until 7 a.m. and I still felt like I had been up drinking all night long with none of the great stories to accompany it. Is this what being a healthy grown up is all about? Because if it is, it kind of stinks.
Enough is enough already. I did some research and this is what I found.
Tips and tricks to surviving daylight savings time.
- Preparation is the ounce of prevention you need!
Make the time change incrementally beforehand. Set all alarm clocks in the house 15 minutes earlier and earlier for five days or so. This way by the time Monday rolls around, you and the kids can actually wake up and it avoids a lot of morning arguments because, really, who has time for that, especially during the DST transition. Not me.
Begin on Saturday:
- Around midday, get some exercise. Exercise and sunshine helps advance the body clock, just as bright light exposure does so go outside and play with the kids, go for a walk or do some yard work. Your body will thank you on Monday.
- Never exercise at night. Exercise raises your body temperature but people fall asleep as temperatures lower so be cool. No exercise at night.
- Get up at your regularly scheduled time— whether you had a good night’s sleep or not. This is tough love for your body.
- Spend some time outside, preferably in the sunshine to help advance your body clock.
- Take a morning walk. After a short night, taking a family walk is an easy exercise to help advance your body clock. If your kids are anything like mine, they will jump at the chance because they no all walks lead to the neighborhood park.
Have a bedtime routine for everyone:
- Don’t eat a heavy meal after 6 pm. Don’t eat more than 3 hours before your bedtime.
- Don’t drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol.
- Don’t nap during the day.
- Stop working on your laptop/computer/phone an hour before bedtime to turn your brain off.
- Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable.
- Don’t turn bright lights on at night.
- Take a warm, not hot, shower.
- Turn off all electronics and read a relaxing book, no Tom Clancy books at bedtime.