Twice a year I write about time change. And we are upon that time once again.
For most of us in the U.S. we will Fall Back on Sunday at 2 a.m.
Many of my readers are from Arizona, so this post doesn’t apply to you as much. (And note to my family, starting Sunday I will be an hour behind for about four months.) But I think the suggestions I am going to make are great whenever you cross time zones or as we move into the cooler and darker (and in Oregon, wetter) season.
I am not a great sleeper. And time change for me is pretty difficult.
When you Spring Forward, you lose an hour. The light is different. It is more difficult to get to bed on time for your workweek.
When you Fall Back, you “gain” an hour. But that gain can still really mess you up. If you normally get up at 5 a.m. then you are likely gonna start rousing at 4 a.m. Ugh! And the evenings get darker earlier, which has already been happening lately.
That “gained” hour can throw your day (or even the following week) off.
There are ways to help your body adapt to time change, whether it is an hour (or several hours when traveling over time zones).
My advice to all who need some extra help Monday morning or all next week:
- Don’t go to bed too late Saturday or Sunday night.
- Make sure you have breakfast Sunday and Monday morning (and every morning).
- Try not to eat a lot of crap. Stick to fruits and veggies as snacks instead of sugary or salty foods.
- Drink lots of water Sunday (but also today and tomorrow and always).
- Exercise. (I will going to two yoga classes on Sunday–one active and one Restorative. If I have time I will also sneak in my own home practice.) Even going for a walk will be helpful.
- Keep up the exercise throughout the week, especially on Monday. Find that motivation. It will be tough, but well worth it.
- If you do nap Saturday or Sunday (I love my weekend naps), don’t nap too late. Maybe instead of a nap, you practice 30 minutes of Restorative Yoga.
- If caffeine really affects you maybe cut back Sunday and definitely don’t have it too late in the day.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol, especially too late in the day/evening.
- Melatonin is a natural hormone found in our bodies. You can buy it over the counter to help with sleep. My doctor advised me at one point to try melatonin to help with my sleep issues. It helps me sleep. But I wouldn’t advise trying it for the first time Sunday night, especially the day before you have to go to work. Talk to your doctor about it. Try it a night before you don’t have to go to work.
- Try to start winding your day down an hour before you go to bed. If you normally go to bed around 10, then at 9 make sure you are done for the day and ready for Monday’s workday. I know it is hard for all of us, myself included, but no screen time an hour before bed. Do something relaxing for that hour: read a book, knit, lounge, take a bath. Even practice a Restorative Yoga pose or two. A few poses I like are: Legs Up the Wall; Instant Maui; and Savasana are just a few you can do. Hold these poses for at least 10 minutes each or longer. You can also try Supported Child’s Pose; Supported Twist. These poses can be held for 5-7 minutes. This video shows some poses.
When we Sprang Forward in March I really listened to my own advice and followed it. And I really think it helped. Time change can be difficult for many of us whether we “gain” or “lose” an hour. Since following my own advice worked so well, I wrote about it. You can read about that here.
I wrote up a sequence sometime ago to curb sadness. It would also be great for time change or when you want a slower practice. I feel refreshed and amazing after practicing this sequence.
The sequence I am teaching my students and am practicing in my home practice this week is slower, more mindful and calming.
Some of the poses we are practicing are inversions, which are poses where your head is below your heart, such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Uttanasana (Forward Fold), Prasarita Uttanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Fold), Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose).
We are also practicing Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose–pictured above), which is great for insomnia, jet lag, anxiety, mild depression, etc. To find out more, read here.
Happy sleep and awake this week, next week and always!