It may be called Daylight Savings time, but for many of us it is more of a Nightmare because our bodies so not willingly adjust to it when we roll our clocks forward an hour. Our bodies circadian rhythm actually follows the sun according to where we live instead of a clock we set. This can wreak havoc with our bodies. Especially if we are night owls or average 6 or fewer hours of sleep at night. So losing an hour of sleep is really a pretty big frikkin deal!
Sleep is so damn important to your health and fitness. In fact, if you are looking for fat loss, prioritizing enough sleep would be one of my top 3 things to do.
Unfortunately, many of us who “lost” an hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time over the weekend may notice an increase in cravings for sweets or MOAR COFFEE just to try and stay awake in the afternoons. Some symptoms other than being tired and sluggish that indicate your body may be having a difficult time adjusting to the time change is lack of concentration, irritability, forgetfulness, and restlessness to name a few. This can go on for a few days or even a week or two for some people.
When it comes to the cravings, it is so easy to think, “oh just this one time will not hurt, I just have to get through this day and that candy bar or that sweetened coffee drink will do just the trick.” Then it happens for a couple of days because our body has not yet adjusted to rising an hour earlier and pretty soon if we are not careful it has become a habit!
The other indicators while not detrimental to our nutrition and training, but can wreak havoc with our personal relationships if we are not careful.
Now, I am no night owl anymore, but I do get up before dawn and currently I average about 5.5 -6.5 hours of sleep a night, so the week of daylight savings time is a bit difficult for me. I am tired, draggy, a little cranky, my memory is off, I am not as clearheaded, am definitely less coordinated than usual, and my attention span is negligible. For me, this means not only do people have to repeat themselves because I can’t hear, they may have to repeat it again because I was not paying attention ☹ My absolutely fabulous husband who is endlessly patient with me (unless we are re-arranging furniture) ends up getting the raw end of the deal with the crankiness and the attention span issue, so I have learned a few tricks over the years to help speed make life bearable with me and for me while my body slowly adapts to the time change and I am sharing them with you below!
There are 5 of my favorite things we can try to help our bodies adjust and to help with the cravings for sweets and caffeine until our bodies have adjusted as well as possible.
- Try to get To Bed at least 30 minutes earlier for the next week or so. Missing a week of TV will not harm us. I promise. I know it is tough to go to bed an hour and a half earlier than usual, (since we are going an hour earlier due to the time change ) but try it anyway.
- Turn off all electronics (including your TV) a minimum of 1 hour before bedtime. 2-3 hours is better. Or at least purchase blue light blocker glasses or put a blue light blocker on your electronics. You can find apps to each of these for computers, android, kindle. Apple products have a night shift in the settings of the device, but I would use blue light blocking glasses if using before bedtime. For future reference you will continue to hear me say this over and over because it is sooo important to improving your sleep.
- Take a Power Nap of about 20-30 minutes during your lunch break if at all possible. If not, then plug in your earphones and listen to some relaxing music or even better download one of the brainwave apps by banzi labs on the iphone or ipad. There are several different apps so click on the link to take you to their website to find which one you want. They are paid apps but are fairly inexpensive. I have the one with 32 programs but I purchased it 4 or 5 years ago and do not remember how much it cost. Not that it matters. It has more than paid for itself. While I do not have a binaural beats app on my android device because I ? brainwave so much, I did find an article for you to check out what may be the best ones for an android device. While it is from 2012 it can give you a starting point.
- Reach for an apple, a jicama, a couple of carrots or any other kind of fresh crunchy slightly sweet snack with a either 1 Tbs of nut butter or a small square of chocolate instead of a candy bar. The crunch and sweetness of the snack as well as having to chew will wake you up and give you a little boost of energy without the crash a candy bar will. I personally had a small apple with ½ a protein bar and a cup of hot cocoa water today ?
- Instead of an extra cup of Coffee, mix a 1-2 tsp of cocoa powder with milk or water and some sweetener. It will give a slight caffeine boost (but less than coffee) and also help curb that sweet tooth.
This week in my newsletter we are going to delve a bit more into sleep. Why we need it, how we can figure out exactly how much we actually need, how to get better sleep. Ways to prepare our body to sleep if we have difficulty getting to sleep etc.
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