Use these sleep tips to make the transition to Daylight Saving Time a smooth and healthy one for you and your family.
Thank you to Natrol for sponsoring this post. The content and opinions expressed here are my own.
The idea of “springing forward” for Daylight Saving Time conjures up images of sunshine and daffodils in my mind. Living in Minnesota, where the winters are a little extra brutal, this is an especially important transition. But no matter where you live, the idea of longer days and warmer temps is likely to make you happy.
However, there is one aspect of Daylight Saving Time that does not cause us to beam with happiness, and that is losing an hour of sleep. Our internal clocks are surprisingly sensitive to change, and even a one hour time difference can throw a wrench into our natural sleep cycles.
Sleep Tips for Daylight Saving Time
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When my boys were little, I’ll admit I was pretty stressed about the time change because we would all be pretty cranky if we didn’t get enough sleep. Over the years, we figured out how to manage the transition by making small changes to our routine in preparation for Daylight Saving Time.
Wouldn’t you rather spend time thinking about sunshine and daffodils than worrying about how Daylight Saving Time might wreak havoc on your family’s routine? Try these six sleep tips to help you cope with the time change and get back into a healthy sleep cycle after “springing forward” this year!
1.) Get plenty of natural light during the day
It might seem odd, but the amount of bright light you are exposed to during the day, has a direct impact on the quality of your sleep at night. That’s because natural light helps keep the body’s internal clock on a healthy sleep/wake cycle.
Try adding in an extra walk outside on the days leading up to and right after Daylight Saving Time to increase your bright light exposure. If getting enough natural light is hard, consider using a light therapy lamp for 20 minutes a day – I keep this lamp at my office desk.
2.) Take a melatonin supplement
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in our body, but changes in daylight hours also cause a change in melatonin production, which can lead to sleep disruption. Taking a melatonin supplement, like Natrol Melatonin, can help establish normal sleep patterns during times of transition like Daylight Saving Time or traveling between time zones.
Natrol Melatonin helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up refreshed* – and if that isn’t the definition of sunshine and daffodils, I don’t know what is! Seriously though, we have used Natrol Melatonin through many time transitions and it has helped tremendously!
It’s important to know that Natrol Melatonin is 100% drug-free and non-habit forming. My husband and I take Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve because it’s easy to take without water. Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies are perfect for young kids who don’t love taking pills.
Natrol Melatonin and Kids Melatonin are available at local drug stores, select grocers, warehouse clubs and online retailers.
3.) Reduce blue light exposure at night
There’s been a lot of buzz about blue light lately. Blue light is not necessarily bad (we get some from the sun), but we are getting an extra dose of it from artificial light sources like computers, video screens and phones. That extra amount of blue light is messing with our circadian rhythm and sleep cycles.
Minimizing blue light at night is recommended all year round, but is especially helpful during the Daylight Saving Time transition. I recommend getting kids off screens at least two hours before bedtime. Adults should limit screen time at night as well and consider using a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
4.) Do calming activities before bedtime
Although you may be tempted to get lots done at night, your body is ready for you to wind down instead. So skip the run and do some meditative yoga. Avoid working on the computer, and read a book. Take a relaxing bath instead of an invigorating shower. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea and steer clear of caffeine.
Help kids relax before bedtime by reading with young kids in bed, and encouraging teens to get their homework done early (good luck with that one!)
5.) Set a consistent schedule
The best bedtime is a consistent bedtime. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, keeping a consistent bedtime routine helps your body prepare for sleep.
Leading up to Daylight Saving Time, it can be helpful to go to bed about 15 minutes earlier each day, to help your body slowly adjust to the change.
6.) Create a soothing sleep environment
An optimal bedroom environment will go a long way toward a better night’s sleep. Minimize light in the room by pulling the shades and using light-blocking curtains if needed. Consider using a white noise machine to play soothing sounds like rain or ocean waves and drown out other distracting noises. Sleep on a non-toxic mattress with organic sheets for optimal health.
This year, I’m throwing an additional wrench into the mix by traveling to Nicaragua over Daylight Saving Time. You can bet I’ll be packing my Natrol Melatonin, and taking it every night!
What are your favorite sleep tips for the Daylight Saving Time transition?
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.