This Saturday, March 11th, daylight savings ends and we move our clocks ahead one hour. You’ll go to sleep at 10:00, but really it’s now 11:00. You’ve lost an hour of sleep! That one hour can wreak havoc on our internal clocks. Our bodies are extremely sensitive to changes in light and schedules. It’s now darker in the morning and lighter in the evening. It takes time for our bodies to adjust. Studies have shown that traffic accidents increase for about a week following the time change in both the spring and fall. So, why are we so sensitive to these subtle changes and what can we do to ease the transition?
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe those actions you can take to create a sleep-friendly environment and increase your chances of falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping soundly. Basic sleep hygiene includes:
- Reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol before bed
- Exercising several hours before bedtime
- Turning off the TV and computer several hours before bed
- Not eating right before bed
- Calming routines before bed to relax yourself, such as a hot bath
It is also important to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day. Sleep hygiene is especially crucial during changes in sleep schedules due to travel or daylight savings.
Cortisol is highest in the morning and lowest at night. With a shift in sleep habits, this rhythm is thrown off as well. Symptoms can include fatigue, change in blood sugar and feeling like your mind is “foggy.” For most people, the condition is temporary and once the body adapts to the time change, the natural circadian rhythm of cortisol production returns as well. If it doesn’t or the symptoms are particularly bothersome one thing you can do is make sure you’re eating regularly. Cortisol helps elevate blood sugar when it begins to drop to low so eating regularly will take the strain off of your cortisol system and allow it to focus on re-regulating itself.
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It is secreted during darkness. With the increase of light in the early morning hours your melatonin levels are likely to drop off quickly and wake you earlier than you’d like. This is problematic because it is often hard to get back to sleep once melatonin levels have dropped. With darker evenings, melatonin levels are likely to rise too early, making you feel like it’s time to sleep when it’s not. It is all very light dependent. So, make sure you’re exposing yourself to a lot of light during the “awake” hours and limiting light during sleeping hours. If you get up to use the bathroom, don’t turn on the light. Instead, have a small, dim nightlight in place. A great way to combat this physiological mix up is to take melatonin an hour or so before going to bed. This will temporarily increase your melatonin levels and allow you to get better quality sleep and signal your body that it needs to re-regulate its melatonin production. You’re resetting your internal clock!
If you’re looking for a fast-acting, high-quality melatonin supplement, look no further than our Sublingual Sleep. It was developed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Because you put it under your tongue (sublingual), it dissolves quickly dispersing the nutrients into your body to help you sleep through the night and wake up energized. Sublingual Sleep provides you with melatonin to achieve all five stages of sleep – plus B vitamins and minerals to help calm nerves and relieve tense muscles. In addition, the formula’s powerful antioxidants help you fight free radicals to keep you feeling your best. Don’t let the time change wreak havoc on your sleep. Spring ahead with Sublingual Sleep and wake up feeling rested and ready to take on your day!