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Bath, Bed & Beyond

It is that time of year again where we move our clocks backwards and gain an extra hour of sleep but do we actually gain anything? Twice a year we move our clocks, but we feel that we lose more than actually gain.

The original idea behind Day Light Savings time was to maximize sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. As days start to get longer in the summer months, we shift our clocks forward to increase our available time. I know way more people that get excited for springing forward than moving back.

Well, research shows that seasonal changes and sunlight has an affect on our mood/sleep patterns.

Circadian Rhythm & DST

Circadian rhythms are 24 hours cycles that make up the body’s internal clock and the most important circadian rhythm is our sleep-wake cycle. The main function of our Circadian rhythm is to make sure our body processes are optimized during various parts of our day.

When your sleep-wake cycle is aligned with your circadian rhythm it allows for your mind/body to participate in restorative sleep but when it is thrown off (such as DST) it can wreak havoc on your regular sleeping patterns. Our Circadian rhythm utilizes light and darkness as signals to predict what to do in the future: go to sleep or go be active. It is imperative that you seek light during the day, after day light savings to help your body’s, natural rhythm get back on track.

Ways you can increase your body’s natural internal clock:

· Seek out sun: Seeking out natural sunlight during the day helps your body’s natural cue for going to bed. The sun also has powerful effects on our overall mood. If you work in an office during the day and are not able to leave, you can look into an artificial light resource or light therapy. Light therapy is a therapeutic intervention tool used for individuals who are diagnosed with Depression and Sleep Disorders. Artificial light differs from the light within an office setting or home as it mimics natural light that you would receive outside. If you are interested in artificial lights to have at your desk at work, you can follow the link below.

· Avoid Caffeine: Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks are often our go to when we are feeling sleepy. Avoiding caffeine in the late afternoons can be helpful with increasing the natural sensations of wanting to fall asleep at night.

· Get Daily Exercise: Participating in daily exercise can also help reset your bodies natural sleep cues as well as boost your mood.

· Put Down Your Phone: Yes, you heard me. You will want to decrease the amount of blue light that your body encounters after the sun sets. Research says dimming the lights and resisting blue light can be helpful in assisting with better sleep.

· Environment: Make sure your environment at night feels safe and comfortable for sleep. Try adjusting the temperature to 60-68 degrees to fall into REM sleep faster.

· Routine: Try adding a pre sleep routine and see if it helps your body relax before bed. This may look like taking a bath or shower, putting on soft pajamas and only getting into bed when you feel ready to fall asleep.

· Self-Compassion: Lastly, have compassion for yourself during these times. You may become frustrated but know that your body will adjust even if it takes time.

The link above is for the light described in "seek out sun" bullet!


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