The clocks “sprang forward” … now what?

Ahh, the time change… In areas that participate in “daylight saving time”, that means that we effectively give ourselves an hour of jet lag. (Jet jag is that unpleasant experience when we fly to a different time zone and have a temporary mismatch between the natural light/dark cycle and our body’s internal circadian clocks.)

Today, and especially tomorrow, when most of us wake up to an alarm, millions of people have disrupted, confused circadian physiology, all at the same time. No wonder things get kind of weird! It’s also worth noting that, if a one hour difference in your sleep/wake pattern throws you for a loop for days, that’s notable evidence that you are chronically underslept. A mini-meltdown triggered by daylight saving time is akin to a financial crisis triggered by an unexpected $75 bill; it indicates very tight margins.

In addition, we often make choices in the stimulating modern world that are similar to experiencing the “spring forward” time change that we just had (here in the US). Staying up many hours past sunset on a random weeknight, beaming light into our brains with smartphones, TVs, and computer screens, we give our light-sensitive biology a ton of mixed messages, so it’s no wonder that our brains and bodies are perpetually a bit confused and dyscoordinated.

As we collectively make a shift in our circadian rhythms today, here are 4 powerful “daylight saving time” tips to help with the transition:

1. Starting this morning, get at least 30-60 minutes of bright *natural* light. Watch the short video below for more info about this.

2. Dim your home lights earlier tonight, and put all screens away *at least* 1 hr before bedtime. That’ll allow your body to wind down properly and prepare for deep, restorative sleep. Remember, it’s the darkness that cues your body to start settling in for healthy sleep.

3. Moderate exercise helps, and so does evening meditation.

4. Perhaps the most important thing: don’t let your anxiety or restlessness get the best of you. If you feel off kilter for a couple days, just notice that and let it inform your health habits going forward. I cover circadian rhythms extensively in The 4 Season Solution, available in just two days!

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