It's 6 a.m., and even though I managed to escape morning baby duties today, I'm still wide, wide awake. Despite the opportunity to sleep in, my body is still raring to go. My brain, not so much -- that would welcome a few more hours of rest. This isn't really an unusual scenario for me; I'm known for being up obnoxiously early. Today is the "good" Daylight Savings Time though, when we "fall back" and get an extra hour of sleep. But for me, it's just an extra hour to be awake, since no one told my Circadian rhythm the clocks were changing overnight, and I'll most certainly forget to go to bed an hour early tonight. Let's not even talk about what time this means my typical little 5 a.m. riser is going to be waking up this week. I am certain no one told him the clocks wound back an hour -- he doesn't even know what a clock is.
One missed hour of sleep may not seem like a big deal, but it can easily roller coaster into long, drawn-out sleep deprivation, which can lead to health problems like depression, diabetes, and obesity. But fear not: here are 5 ways to make the transition to Daylight Savings Time a bit easier.
1. Stick with a Routine
Even though it can feel luxurious and relaxing to snooze in late on Saturday morning, it's really not doing you any favors. Going to bed at the same time every day and getting up at the same time every day helps us create a good sleep routine, meaning we sleep better and wake up well rested. We usually know to do this for our kids, but we forget that as adults we need good sleep habits and routines as well.
2. Get the Rest of the Family Sleeping
Get the rest of the family sleeping. It's one thing to get yourself to sleep well; it's a whole other story to get your kids to sleep in. Practice these same good sleep habits with your kids to help them adjust to the new daylight hours as well. There's nothing that can ruin a good night's sleep like a rambunctious child jumping into your bed at 5 a.m. Make sure their room is dark, they have a consistent bedtime, and they get lots of daylight exposure during the day and afternoon. Keeping a consistent routine throughout the day can help signal kids it's time to go to bed, since they know to expect it.
3. Boost Your Mood
Take advantage of those early morning rays of sun. Exposure to sunlight in the morning has been shown to improve mood. As we enter a season that makes many of us prone to the blues, it doesn't hurt to do whatever you can to fight them off.
4. Get Moving
I'd much rather spend a cold, frosty morning snuggled under a blanket with a cup of coffee, but getting your butt in gear and getting your heart rate up with some aerobic exercise can actually help you sleep better. Aim for 30 minutes at least four times a week.
Make your room as absolutely dark as possible. That means shutting the blinds, turning off night lights, switching off your phone screen, and even turning the clock around so the bright numbers aren't glowing in your face. If it's impossible to get your room dark, try using a sleep mask. Light signals our bodies to wake up; not to sleep. By keeping your room pitch black, you're telling your brain it's time to shut off and sleep. This also means when it really is time to wake up, you can throw open those shades and let the sun pour in. The sunlight will help you wake up and get you going for the day.
-By Heather Neal
For 10 surprising benefits of taking a walk, visit Babble!
MORE ON BABBLE
5 ways to get the best sleep of your life
20 little ways to de-stress throughout the day
9 surprising reasons why coffee is good for you