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The start of March brings the promise of springtime, which means we are just days away from resetting our clocks for Daylight Saving Time (DST). “Spring forward” means an hour of sunlight transfers from the morning to the evening, so our days will be darker earlier and lighter later.
The catch? Hundreds of millions of Americans will lose an hour of sleep when the time change occurs. It may not seem significant, but one less hour can throw your sleep cycle out of whack — that is, if you don’t prepare ahead of time.
Mattress Warehouse provides tips to help the slight inconvenience to your body clock on Sunday, March 10, 2019, when all clocks will be set forward one hour.
How To Adjust To Daylight Saving Time
In similar fashion to jet lag, losing an hour of sleep in the spring is more difficult to adjust to than gaining an hour in the fall. Although Daylight Saving Time occurs on a Sunday, waking up the following Monday for work, school, or any other obligation may not be the easiest task.
Our circadian rhythm, or internal clock, controls our sleep cycle and is largely affected by environmental cues — light being one of them. Light reduces the secretion of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, in our bodies.
Waking before the sun has fully risen can confuse our bodies into thinking we should still be sleeping, making us feel tired, imbalanced, or stressed for the remainder of the day.
There are a few ways you can help yourself adjust to the upcoming time change.
- The night before DST, go to bed an hour earlier. That way, you will get the same amount of sleep as usual and the time change will come as less of a shock to your system. If you’re feeling ambitious, gradually go to sleep earlier for several nights leading up to DST. 15 minutes earlier, 30 minutes earlier, 45 minutes earlier, and finally one hour earlier. This will ensure you are well-rested by the time DST rolls around. If you are sleep deprived, the transition will be a much harder one to handle.
- Avoid hitting the snooze button. As hard as it might be, waking up at the same time each day is good for your brain, immune system, and body and will make the time transition smoother.
- Steer clear of caffeine the day before daylight saving takes place. Any stimulants that may alter your sleep that night could make waking up the next morning even more difficult. It may also put you on a bad sleep trajectory for the next several nights.
If you want to get to bed earlier, but you’re unsure of how to fall asleep when you’re not tired, try these tricks.
How To Fall Asleep When Not Tired
1. Take Deep Breaths
Taking a series of deep breaths slows your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and relaxes your body. This can put you in a restful state, both physically and mentally. To fall asleep instantly, try the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
2. Drink Decaffeinated Herbal Tea
Tea that contains valerian root, chamomile or melatonin has calming effects that help naturally induce sleep. It’s best to drink it around 30 minutes before bed. The warmth from a cup of tea can also give you that warm, snuggly internal feeling that makes you want to curl up in bed and fall asleep.
3. Complete An Uninteresting Task
Lull your brain to sleep. By reading a calming book, listening to a podcast by someone with a monotone voice, or performing a tedious, low-energy activity, you may get sleepy. If you don’t give your brain any worthwhile stimulation, it can drift off on its own.
However, avoid blue light before bedtime. Don’t resort to your phone, laptop, or any other type of screen for a boring dull activity. The blue light emitted will trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and make you feel even less tired than you already do.
4. Stretch or Meditate
Stretching before trying to sleep can relax your muscles and get rid of any built-up tension or stress that may keep you awake at night. Yoga poses can relax both your body and your brain. Try these four stretches to do in bed before sleeping.
If you’ve never tried meditating, this is also a great exercise to quiet your busy mind, reduce stress and control anxiety. When done right, it can help you sleep better and deeper and reduce the chances of waking up in the middle of the night.
Spring Onto A Comfortable Mattress
As spring fast approaches, it’s out with the old and in with the new! Spring cleaning is on the horizon, and the best place to start is your bedroom.
Consider the age and condition of your mattress. If it’s old and stiff, it could be affecting the quality of your sleep. There’s no better time to spruce up your bed with a new, high-quality mattress than the start of a new season.
Our experienced in-store team would be happy to help you find the perfect mattress to match your body type, favorite sleeping position, and specific sleeping needs. Check out our store locator to find a Mattress Warehouse near you.
Although DST may be a minor inconvenience for many people’s sleep schedules, with these tips and tricks to help the adjustment, you’ll be back to your normal routine in no time.