I once heard that the first week of Daylight Saving Time produced the more heart attacks than any other week of the year. Now when I researched this tid-bit of info through the American Heart Association, research showed that this isn't actually true. Still though, I've always found the first week of Daylight Saving to be pretty stressful and exhausting. This is no good if you already struggle with depression or anxiety.
I myself am just not a morning person and have often thought about taking the first few days of Daylight Saving week off from work to adjust. But for myself, as for most people, taking time off just to gain sleep is not always an option. So how can we adjust to this change without letting it affect our work, our focus, and especially our mood? Here are a few steps to keep in mind:
Step 1: Stick to your sleep schedule.
In the few days before the time-change, make sure that you're getting to bed on time, and give yourself a little extra time early in the night to wind-down so that you're not still up and moving around past your time to go to sleep.
Step 2: Start getting up a little earlier ahead of time.
If you can, start getting yourself up about a half-hour earlier than usual too, so that your body can adjust more gradually to the time change. This will leave you with less of that feeling of jet-lag come Monday.
Step 3: Watch what you eat and drink before bed.
Stay away from all caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. Avoid too much sugar or spicy food in the evenings because this can affect sleep too. Avoid alcohol in the hours before bed as well, as alcohol does interfere with your body's ability to get restful sleep.
Step 4: Save your bedroom, and your bed, just for sleep!
(And intimate activity of course.) When you have a tv in your room, or if you spend a lot of time reading or looking at your phone or tablet in bed, you are teaching your body that bed is more than just for sleep. Leave all that activity for another room. Your body will start to learn that bed means it's time to sleep, and it will be ready for sleep-mode when your head hits the pillow.
Step 5: If you can't sleep, don't stay in bed.
If it takes you longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep within 20 minutes, get up and out of bed. Do something quiet in a different room until you feel your eyes start to droop, then get back in bed. Again, this is training your body that your bed is only a place for sleep.
So good luck with Springing Forward! The great news is that we get to have daylight later in the day, and warm weather is on the way. Both of these things can be a great mood boost! And feel free to share in the comment section which of these steps you like the best!