Surviving the Time Change

Surviving the Time Change

posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

It’s hard to believe that that time of year is here again — the end of Daylight Savings Time. It isn’t that difficult to set your clocks back an hour, but your body’s circadian rhythm (its internal clock) is a bit harder to train. Here are some tips on how to do that, courtesy of this article by Dakshana Bascaramurty in The Globe and Mail’s Life section.

flip the switch as soon as you get up

Getting as much light as possible as soon as you wake up is possibly the best way to help your body adjust, according to James MacFarlane, director of education at the Toronto Sleep Institute. It signals your brain that the night is over. Sunshine is best, but even artificial light will help you make the adjustment.

eat regularly

Just as light sends a signal to your brain, telling it to wake up, eating signals your brain to wake up as well. There’s a reason they call it break-fast. “It’s your body’s cue that the long fast is over,” according to Dr. MacFarlane. And be careful — eating late can still send those signals, confusing your circadian rhythm.

pay attention to your kids

Children are much more in tune with their bodies than most adults, who are used to regulating their lives according to clocks and watches. They will sleep until their circadian rhythm tells them that they’ve gotten enough rest. So take a cue from them, and give your body the sleep it needs.

obey your alarm clock

At the same time, if you need an alarm clock, don’t succumb to the snooze button temptation. “It’s this emergency signal hauling you out of the deepest stage of sleep,” according to Dr. MacFarlane. Studies have indicated that waking up to an alarm clock can raise your blood pressure and elevate your heart rate — so hitting snooze multiple times simply puts your body through this shock more times than is necessary. And besides, says Dr. MacFarlane, “if you aren’t waking up before the alarm, you are sleep-deprived.”

skip the nightcap

While it could help you drift off to sleep, it will almost certainly wake you up a few hours later.

The full version of the article, including information about Proactive Sleep’s iPhone/iPod Touch alarm clock app, is available here.

This post was written by admin on October 28, 2009

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