Yep, it’s coming up this weekend. And if you are like most of us, we just dread every time there is a time change. But why? And how can we transition to shorter days with less effect on our health?
First of all, to those of you that do not adopt this, consider yourself blessed. But for those of us who have to deal with it, it’s a royal pain. I’m not going to discuss why we do this and that it should be abolished. Right now, it’s something we just have to live with and make the best of it.
This is the time change when we gain an hour (Spring ahead, Fall back) and enter into shorter days with less light.
But why is this so hard to adjust to? It’s only a matter of one hour – a mere 60 minutes. One episode of “Blue Bloods”!
The reason it’s so hard to adjust is because the change of time disrupts our body’s natural rhythm called the circadian rhythm – your internal body clock which is regulated by the time the sun rises.
This internal clock regulates many physiological processes, like when to sleep, rise or eat. So when this rhythm is disrupted, it can cause many health issues related to heart function, effects our immunity, mental alertness, moods, stress, and possible weight issues.
For many of us who are larks (early risers), this fall change is extra hard. We like to get up early with the sun and get things done.
Even though this change gives us an extra hour of sleep, few people actually benefit from it. During the following week after the time change, many people wake up earlier, wake up during the night or have more trouble falling asleep (owls – those who like to start their day later).
So what are some things we can do to help our body adjust?
KEEP ON A SCHEDULE
Just because the hands of the clock change, doesn’t mean your body’s clock changes.
Go to bed and get up at the same time.
Stay on schedule for meals.
Stick to your routines.
We all know that exercise keeps our bodies healthy, boosts our mood and helps to reduce stress. But an additional benefit to exercise is that it gets the oxygen flowing thru your body. And this may help with any time change related issues you might be experiencing.
TAKE A WALK IN THE AFTERNOON
A mid-day walk is not only refreshing but will help you not to want to nap. Especially until your body adjusts to the time change, try not to nap in the afternoon because it will make it that much harder to fall asleep at night.
USE ESSENTIAL OILS Essential oils are a natural way to help give your body a boost. Put a drop of orange and peppermint in the palm of your hand and inhale. It will definitely perk you up! Or if you can’t sleep, put 3 drops each of lavender and cedarwood in a diffuser. (If you would like to learn more about using essential oils in your daily life, schedule a Complimentary Essential Oil Consultation here.)
AVOID ALCOHOL, CAFFEINE and THE NEWS– ESPECIALLY BEFORE BED
These are stimulants – physical and mental – and will only make going to sleep and staying asleep much more difficult.
BE EXTRA ALERT WHEN DRIVING
Since our body rhythms are thrown off after a time change, when some people drive they become less alert, attentive to traffic and may also fall asleep. Driving is challenging enough now days and the time change only adds to it.
START A NEW PROJECT IN YOUR HOME
Since outdoor activities tend to end earlier due to shorter days, the tendency to sit in front of the TV is increased. Which leads to snacking and weight gain. Instead, start a new project inside your home – paint, remodel, clean drawers and cupboards, redecorate. Plus, whenever you redo something in your home, it makes it fresh and makes you happy.
CATCH UP ON READING
And not just finishing those Beach Books you didn’t read over the summer. Try reading something to expand your knowledge – not just fiction.
I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions on coping with the dreaded time change. Feel free to comment below. It might help others!
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