Clocks change twice a year across Canada (Saskatchewan being the exception), but somehow we are never fully prepared for the way it affects our sleep patterns. Studies have found an association between the transition to daylight saving time and short-term risk of heart attacks, stroke, traffic accidents, emergency room visits, and serious mood disturbances. Lack of sleep caused by the time change can affect thinking, decision-making, and productivity.
As we prepare to “spring forward” on March 12th at 2:00am, here are a few tips to help you prepare and cope with the change:
Daylight savings time: Sleep tips if the spring forward wrecks your rest
while children and teens need more rest.
Insufficient rest can also impair cognitive performance, mood and immune function.
- Hallmark foods in the Mediterranean diet include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pulses (e.g., beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. The main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet olive oil. Fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products (yogurt and cheese) are eaten several times a week, while small portions of red meat are limited to twice a week, at most.
- Many of these foods contain anti-inflammatory nutrients, fibre and phytochemicals; inflammation in the brain is thought to contribute to poor sleep.
Plant foods and seeds also contain, at various levels, melatonin and serotonin, sleep-inducing brain chemicals.
Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime;
and instead read a book, stretch, meditate or incorporate a skincare ritual.
- Eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime and keep it light to prevent digestive upset during the night. Eating a fatty evening meal has been shown to cause sleep disruptions.
- Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, dark chocolate) in the afternoon and evening if you have difficulty sleeping. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, a brain chemical that slows down nerve activity causing drowsiness.
- Limit or avoid alcohol, which can cause you to wake up during restorative stages of sleep. Alcohol can also worsen sleep apnea symptoms.
Exercise: Good exercise is associated with good sleep. An aerobic exercise routine during the day can keep you from tossing and turning at night.
- For optimal health, reserve vigorous exercise for the morning or late afternoon and try relaxing activities – such as yoga – before bed to help initiate a restful night’s sleep.
- Back sleepers need thinner pillows, so their head is not thrown too far forward. And there’s some benefit from the use of cervical pillows with extra loft in the bottom third of the pillow to cradle the neck.
- Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder. Final selection will be influenced by your body size, shape and sleep habits.
Finally, if you’re sensitive to light, consider investing in blackout shades or a quality sleep mask.
but make incremental changes (try 15 minutes)
to help your body adjust to the new sleep pattern.
- To get up early, you need to go to bed early – but make incremental changes (try 15 minutes) to help your body adjust to the new sleep pattern. And start your sleep prep the night before (by following a consistent night-time routine, as outlined above).