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Posted by Bethaney Wallace on October 22, 2014
This November 2nd, it’s time to fall back into winter schedules. Where residents (except for those in Arizona), set back their clocks to the previous hour in order to “reset” our daily timelines. It’s a practice we’ve been following for nearly 100 years and have used to better conserve our summer vs. winter hours. And for many, November 2nd will be a great day, one that is actually 25 hours long.
But don’t let those extra 60 minutes fool you. Just because you have an “extra” hour, doesn’t mean you’ll use it for sleeping. Or, even if you do, it might throw off your morning schedule come Monday.
To ensure fluid sleep schedules this fall, it’s important to create a schedule or sleeping pattern to help train your body. By falling asleep and then waking up at the same time each day, your body will naturally fall into a set habit of sleeping and waking up (without being drowsy) on its own. That extra hour, however, could easily throw a loop into your plans. Even though it may not sound like much, those 60 minutes can add up and confuse your body in the process. Especially if it’s “only an hour” that builds. For instance, maybe you aren’t tired the first night or two – or are too tired – and adjust your bedtime accordingly. Then, the hours continue to change each night, creating a confusing process for your body.
The earlier loss of light can also change your willingness to sleep. Once DST hits, darkness will fall at a far earlier time. And while that might be great for getting kids to bed, it’s not so easy for adults who still have laundry and plenty of responsibilities to stick to. Not to mention a very strict sleeping routine.
Though the goal is to allow our bodies to wake all on their own, this might take some training at first. By setting an alarm, and setting it at a consistent times, you can work to create this pattern to naturally occur on its own. Even if you like to snooze, an alarm will help wake the body from its deep sleep.
As for those who dislike alarms altogether, there are other gentler versions available than those that scare us awake. Set music to coax you out of sleep – many phones or alarms will even increase the volume over a few minutes at a time. Other alarms can create calming sounds, or even sensory jolts, such as scents or cold air that’s puffed in your direction. Though these might not be as effective (or timely) at waking you up, they’ll still alert the light sleeper. As well as still providing a mild way to get them up for the day.
Finally, consider what you’re doing each night before bed. Working out too late in the evening can create some serious adrenaline and keep the body from naturally drifting into sleep. The same can be said for strenuous brain activity that might leave you anxious or deep into thoughts when trying to relax. Scheduling the workouts earlier, however, can allow you plenty of time to wind down and fall asleep on your desired timeline.
When Daylight Savings Time takes place, don’t let the extra hour fool you into creating extra sleep, especially when it’s a practice that might affect your mornings. Instead, look to a regular schedule that allows you to train the body, and naturally relax into better and deeper sleeping patterns each and every night.
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