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Spring is coming and with it, Daylight Savings. While most of us are looking forward to warmer temperatures and longer days, the thought of “losing” an hour of precious sleep as we spring forward is a little upsetting to say the least.
Your body works to constantly coordinate its “biologic clock” with the outside world. When the time changes, you are suddenly “out of sync” with the world, hence the slump. We have all experienced this when traveling between time zones or setting our clocks forward for Daylight Savings.
The good news is, there are things you can do today and foods you can incorporate in your diet to beat the Daylight Savings slump.
To beat the Daylight Savings slump, you’ll need to re-synchronize your biologic clock leading up to the start of Daylight Savings time this Sunday, March 11.
Try to get exposure to early morning natural light soon after awakening. Light is the most important signal to your brain that it is time to be alert and start your day. Early morning light exposure, particularly during this next week, will speed your adaptation to the new time.
Beginning today, try to go to sleep 15-30 minutes earlier and wake up 15-30 minutes earlier in the morning. This will allow you to more gradually adjust to the new time.
Mealtimes are another important clue the body uses to “set” the biologic clock. Don’t worry, adjusting mealtimes doesn’t require you to skip any meals. Shifting mealtimes toward the new time is actually super helpful. For example, if you normally eat dinner at 6 p.m., consider shifting dinner time this Thursday, Friday and Saturday to 5:30 p.m. Once we spring forward, you will only be off your usual meal schedule by 15-30 minutes instead of a full hour. For people who already eat dinner later in the evening, this is a great tactic to keep you from sitting down to a meal at 10 p.m.
It could be tempting to add one more nightcap or down an extra cup of coffee in the morning, but don’t. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible during this adaptation period. Both alcohol and caffeine interrupt sleep and further deprive you of sleep at a time when you are already losing an hour of valuable sleep.
But really. Bananas, cherries, walnuts and peanut butter are all foods you can enjoy and help improve your sleep.
Bananas contain natural relaxing magnesium and potassium, as well as the amino acid tryptophan, which is linked to sleep quality. Peanut butter is another natural source of tryptophan so go ahead, make yourself a peanut butter-covered banana.
Cherries and walnuts are two of the few food sources with melatonin, the sleep hormone that regulates the internal clock. Tart cherries are chock-full of melatonin and drinking tart cherry juice every day has helped people fall asleep sooner and sleep better. Walnuts are another good option that can help manage stress, which contributes to poor sleep.
Studies have shown that sleep-deprived drivers can have similar cognitive impairments to drunk drivers. Sleep-deprived drivers are more likely to make poor decisions on the road. Stay alert and drive carefully. Traffic accidents go up around Daylight Savings Time as people deal with the lack of sleep!
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