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Tips to deal with Daylight Savings Time

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

It’s daylight savings time this weekend, which means you’ll get a longer day – but at the expense of adjusting your sleep for the next few days.
Sleep is foundational. It’s key to healthy, happy days – but far too few Canadians are getting enough rest. And with daylight time this weekend, it’s likely even the most well-refined sleep pattern will be thrown off, at least a little bit.
(The seasonal adjustment means you will lose one hour of sleep as the clocks spring forward. It kicks off on Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 2 a.m.)
Here’s what to know about the importance of sleep for optimal health and how to get enough quality slumber.
Seven to nine hours of sleep each night is the recommendation for adults,
while children and teens need more rest.
How much sleep do I need?
It’s recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Children, ages 5 to 13, need nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep and teenagers, ages 14 to 17, should get eight to 10.
But as many as 13 million Canadians are not getting the recommended hours of shut-eye each night. Half the population struggles with some sort of sleep-related problem, experts from the Royal Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research estimate.
“Sleep is one of the three pillars of good health, along with nutrition and physical activity,” says Charles Morin, professor of psychology and Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Sleep Medicine at Laval University’s Brain Research Centre. “If we don’t sleep well or have trouble sleeping, this impacts our mental and physical health. In return, if we are ill physically or we are stressed, this has an impact on our sleep. It goes both directions.”
A 2018 study published in SLEEP suggests that getting too much sleep is also detrimental to your health. The phenomenon, called “sleep inertia,” can be experienced as the grogginess one feels after a long, deep slumber.
Everyone has their own sleep sweet spot. So a good indicator of how well you’re sleeping may be whether you wake up feeling refreshed, rather than how many hours you spend in bed.
A lack of sleep impairs our immune system and increases a number of health risks.
Insufficient rest can also impair cognitive performance, mood and immune function.
What happens without enough rest?
Countless studies show lack of sleep does a number on our bodies and our minds.
It impairs our immune system and increases the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and, for people over 50, may even heighten the risk of dementia. It can also impair cognitive performance, mood and immune function.
Insufficient sleep can lead to depression and anxiety, reduces memory and attention span, muddies clear thinking, depletes energy and makes us grumpy.
Being short on sleep can affect your diet, too. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived eat larger portions of food, snack more at night and are more likely to reach for high-carbohydrate and/or high-fat snacks.
Getting enough sleep is an investment that reduces stress and improves productivity. Good sleepers are less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and drink less alcohol.
What is the impact of diet on sleep?
Tweaking your diet – when and what you eat – can set you up for a better sleep. Research suggests that eating a healthy diet, plentiful in fibre-containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans and low in refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, promotes a good night’s sleep.
A 2018 study suggested that those whose food intake closely matched the Mediterranean diet slept longer and were less likely to have insomnia than people who didn’t follow a Mediterranean diet.
  • 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.

Practising good sleep hygiene can improve the quality of your sleep.
Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime;
and instead read a book, stretch, meditate or incorporate a skincare ritual.
How to get better sleep
Getting better sleep is well worth the effort. Consider these tips to improve your bedtime routine and slumber.
Diet: Improving what you eat can improve your sleep. Here are some dietary tweaks for better sleep:
  • 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.
Practise good sleep hygiene: Power down electronics (phones, laptops, TVs etc.) at least an hour before bedtime. Spend that time completing a routine that prepares your mind and body for rest. Read a book. Write in a journal. Spend 20 minutes stretching or meditating or practising deep belly breathing. Try drinking warm water with magnesium and incorporating a skincare ritual at night.
Temperature: The best room temperature for optimal sleep is anywhere from 15 C to 24 C. If you have a ceiling fan, running it on low at night – for cooling effect and gentle white noise – can help. Weighted blankets or warm sheets are a nice addition to help you fall asleep, too.
Mattress and pillows: Consider replacing your mattress if it’s more than 10 years old. Mattresses should be comfortably supportive. You want a mattress to be flexible enough to adapt to your body’s shape while providing firm support for your spine. Swap your pillows for new ones every 12 to 18 months.
  • 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.

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.
How to have a better morning
Setting a consistent sleep schedule is important – especially if you want to be more of a morning bird.
  • 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).
Don’t hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Doing so confuses the brain and will make you feel foggy, experts say.
Expose your face to light for at least 30 minutes. When light hits your eyes’ retinas, it signals the brain to stop producing melatonin and instead begin making cortisol, a hormone that helps wake us up. It is the best way to reset your circadian rhythm.
Start with a glass of water. If your body is dehydrated after a night of sleep, a glass of water is a refreshing wake-up call for your muscles and organs.
Stretch or exercise. Adding movement first thing in the morning can help fight sleep inertia, that groggy feeling most people are familiar with from jet lag. Get out of bed and move around as soon as you open your eyes. Slowly moving your muscles with a set of stretches will be a satisfying start to the day. Try the piriformis stretch or child’s pose with a side bend.
Give yourself time. Adopting an earlier schedule will take time – an adjustment period of weeks, if not months.
Use technology for some extra help. If you need a little assistance to make your morning the best it can be, there are plenty of apps that can make your early hours better. From an app that tracks your sleep cycle (and wakes you during the lightest part) to one that offers endless smoothie recipes for breakfast there’s something out there for everyone. Time to make technology work for you.
GLOBE STAFF      2023 03 11           source: www.theglobeandmail.com

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Want To Be Happier? Hire A Housekeeper, Researchers Suggest

Many who have the means to buy themselves more free time don’t do so

For people who wish there were more hours in the day, spending a bit of money to get rid of onerous tasks would make them much happier, but researchers say very few actually make the investment.

A study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found buying time makes people happier than buying material things.

UBC psychology professor and study author Elizabeth Dunn said although the idea of being happier by having someone clean your home or do other unwanted chores seems obvious, the study found even small investments like shopping at a more expensive, but closer-to-home, grocery store makes a difference.

Protects from time stress

“Theoretically what we think is that buying time protects people from the negative effects of time stress in daily life,” she said. “When you’re rushing around, feeling pressed for time, that seems to take a bit of a toll on people’s day-to-day happiness.”

Researchers gave 60 people taking part in the study in Vancouver $40 to spend on two weekends. The first time they were told to use the money on any material item they wanted.

Dunn said people reported buying a nice bottle of wine, clothes and board games. Researchers then surveyed the group to determine their level of happiness following the purchase of the item.

On the second weekend, participants were tasked to use the money to save them time — such as taking a taxi instead of public transit, have someone mow their lawn, and in one case having a “neighbour boy” run errands.

Better than shopping

Dunn said they compared the group’s level of happiness following both instances of spending, and found people were much happier when they bought themselves more time.

Surprisingly, Dunn said only two per cent of the group reported that they would spend money on things that would give them more time.

“It’s not what comes to mind to people as a way to increase their happiness and the rates at which people are engaging in this type of expenditure are surprisingly low,” Dunn said.

That attitude wasn’t limited to the Vancouver participants.

The study also surveyed 850 millionaires in the Netherlands and found almost half of them don’t spend money to outsource their most disliked tasks.

Many could but don’t outsource

Buying more time requires the means to do so, Dunn said. But a survey of 6,000 people in Canada, the U.S. and Europe showed those who have a bit of discretionary income would benefit from spending it on getting rid of the chores they dread.

The minority of people who do buy time-saving tools typically spend $80 to $100 a month, Dunn said, adding the study shows even $40 can make a difference.

‘Even if you don’t have tonnes of money, using money to get rid of your disliked tasks may be a pretty smart decision,’
– Elizabeth Dunn, UBC psychology professor

“People who don’t feel like they’re rolling in dough may feel like that’s a frivolous way to spend money, but what our research is showing is that even if you don’t have tonnes of money, using money to get rid of your disliked tasks may be a pretty smart decision,” she said.

Guilt factor

The reason behind people’s aversion to treating themselves to time savers is unclear. Dunn said her team’s best guess is that people feel guilty spending money on things they could do themselves.

“People may feel like I can do this so I should do this, and so I hope our research helps to break through that perhaps misguided cultural assumption,” she said.

Dunn said her team intends to do a follow-up study to better understand why people don’t spend money to buy time, and see how age, gender, ethnicity or other characteristics play into the reasoning.

source: www.cbc.ca     The Canadian Press    Jul 25, 2017

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Gain time for yourself by giving it to others

Altruism pays with a sense of ‘time affluence’

 Jul 13, 2012

If it seems as if there’s never enough hours in the day to do all the things you want — try reversing that feeling by volunteering your time to do things for other people.
A new U.S. study suggests that helping others boosts our sense of personal competence and efficiency, which in turn stretches out time in our minds.
And ultimately, giving time makes people more willing to commit to future engagements despite their busy schedules, says lead researcher Cassie Mogilner of the University of Pennsylvania.
“In short, we propose that spending time on others makes people feel like they have done a lot with their time — and the more they feel they have done with their time, the more time they will feel they have,” concludes the study.
The findings were released online Friday in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
The researchers used four different experiments, to test people’s subjective sense of having time, called “time affluence.”
They found that compared with wasting time, spending time on oneself, and even gaining a windfall of “free” time, spending time on others increased participants’ feelings of time affluence.
The authors conclude with a word of caution.
“Despite these potentially multiplicative benefits of giving time, however, there is likely an upper limit at which giving time has negative consequences — for example, when giving time starts to impair people’s ability to be effective in their own lives.”

Giving and receiving

The four experiments included:
1. A total of 218 participants (58 per cent female with a median age of 20) were randomly assigned to one of two five-minute tasks in which they either gave their time or wasted it.
Participants in the giving time condition wrote an encouraging note (which was subsequently mailed) to a gravely ill child. Participants in the wasting time condition were asked to complete a “filler task” that required counting “e’s” in multiple pages of Latin text.
“Although both giving time and wasting time signal that one has an abundance of time, only giving time led participants to perceive their time as more abundant.”
2. A total of 150 subjects (74 per cent female with a median age of 40) were randomly assigned to spend 10 or 30 minutes either doing something for themselves or for someone else that they had hadn’t planned that day.
Regardless of whether participants spent 10 or 30 minutes, spending time on another seemed to expand their sense of time compared with spending time on oneself.
It is consistent with research on the benefits of spending money on others versus on oneself. The amount of the resource spent matters less than whether it was spent on oneself or others.
3. This experiment tested the effect of giving time on feelings of time affluence against an even stricter standard: actually receiving an unexpected “windfall” of free time.
It involved a 15-minute task of editing an essay written by an at-risk student from a local public high school. A total of 136 subjects (58 per cent female with a median age of 20) were randomly assigned to two groups.
Half were given an essay and a red pen for editing; the rest were told that all of the essays had been edited and they could leave early.
Subjects who gave time felt as though they had more time than those who received an equivalent amount of “free” time. Moreover, participants who spent their time helping an at-risk student reported feeling that their time was less scarce.
4. Participants were randomly assigned to vividly describe a recent incident of doing something which was not part of their normal responsibilities — either for someone else or for themselves.
Consistent with the previous experiments, participants who remembered giving time felt as if they had more time than participants who remembered spending time on themselves.
The experiment included 105 participants with a median age of 34, 56 per cent were female.
source: CBC