Thanks to the time change this past weekend, it likely got easier for you to get out of bed in the morning. But, unfortunately, it can also be harder to get to sleep at night.
Farewell, daylight savings time – that span of spring and summer when our governments try to “save light” by moving our clocks forward an hour. There’s an old tale about the Native Indians’ response to daylight savings time: “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”
If you can, I generally recommend that you just ignore daylight savings time (as is done in Hawaii, Arizona, South America and much of the rest of the world) and continue getting up and going to sleep as you do in the winter. But, if you didn’t manage to skip this giant sleep rhythm interruption, here are some tips on how to rehabilitate your sleep patterns so you can ease into this new “timing”.
1. Start getting up earlier
Now, if you’re used to staying up until midnight or 1am, suddenly getting up at 6am may not go over too well. In fact, it may feel like torture. But, if you can force yourself to wake up a bit earlier, then you will tire yourself out earlier as well.
2. Eat earlier
One of the secrets to getting to bed before 10pm, is to eat dinner before 7pm. Preferably, between 5:30-6:30pm. This way, you’ve finished digesting your dinner by the time 9:30pm rolls around. If you eat too late, especially after 8pm, your stomach will still be quite active and not ready for sleep.
I realize some people may work until 5pm and not get home until 6pm. Preparing a stew or soup in the morning that you can leave in a crock pot while you’re at work is one way around this.
3. Reduce stimulants
If you find you can’t fall asleep before 10pm, make sure you are not drinking any coffee at, or after, dinner. Also, avoid caffeinated teas, chocolate and sugar. All of these will keep you going when you really need to be unconscious. How many people have a couple of squares of good chocolate at night without realizing the amount of caffeine they are consuming!
You may even find you need to avoid such stimulants earlier in the day. Some people need to avoid them altogether. Oftentimes the heavier you are, the more stimulants you can handle. The thinner you are, the more they’ll wind you up like a spinning top.
4. Get into a rhythm
Getting to bed early really only works well if you do it all the time. Trying to do it just once a week will probably just throw you off your schedule and rhythm. You’re better off with the same bedtime each day – even if it’s too late! Otherwise, make a point of being in bed before 10pm, every day of the week. Or at least six days of the week. Get your body into the habit.
5. Dim the lights
As best you can, reduce your lighting in the evening. If you have dimmer switches, that’s perfect. At the very least spend 15 minutes before you go to bed with dimmed lights, meditating or otherwise relaxing your body and mind.
6. Mind your room temperature
This may allow you to turn the heat off completely in the winter, saving you plenty of money. And the body prefers a cool room. Your body’s going to produce its own heat, no matter what the temperature is. So by letting the room become cool (not freezing) and trapping your body heat under the covers, you’ll create an ideal sleeping environment.
Ideally you would want to keep the temperature between 15-20ºC or 60 and 68ºF, according to most studies. This is actually the temperature your central core prefers. It’s really only hands and feet that need to be kept warm, as the heat dissipates outward.
Our ancestors didn’t have a furnace and couldn’t keep the fire going while they slept at night. They most likely adapted by bundling up in frigid environments. While it seems to make more sense to just raise the temperature of our sleeping chamber and the blankets – this wasn’t how our bodies evolved.
7. Stay magnesium sufficient
Of course, I also believe that the underlying reason for most sleep interruptions is magnesium deficiency and magnesium is my first recommendation to anyone who can’t sleep properly. Whenever a friend or family member tells you they aren’t sleeping properly tell them to take magnesium, magnesium baths, magnesium spray – any form of magnesium at all and avoid getting hooked on medications.
If you want a highly-absorbed form of magnesium, try our picometer formula, ReMag. It is available on the True Health Canada online store at: https://shop.truehealthcanada.ca/product/remag-8-1-oz/
contributed by: Lorraine Andres Foremost Expert in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness.