Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Prepare and Sleep Well!

Daylight savings begins this weekend and it's the perfect time to prepare.  This week set a good sleep routine.  Most of us are less affected by the "fall back" hour change, but there is still a chance for some long terms consequences.  Try to go to bed and get up at the same time for the rest of this week and take advantage of the "extra" hour on Sunday morning.  Then, do the same, if you can next week.  This will minimize any negative effects on your normal sleep rhythms.  It's always good to stick with a good sleep routine, keeping to the same bedtime and wake time as much as possible anyway, but when making a change it can be especially helpful.

Now, what to do about the increasing darkness?  This "fall back" an hour is an almost guarantee for most of us that we will be waking in total darkness and soon there-after, the evenings will be dark as well.  This means for many that we leave in the morning in darkness and return home in the evening in darkness.  For many, this is debilitating, causing symptoms of "SAD" or seasonal affective disorder with symptoms similar to depression.  The majority of us will feel some symptoms - lethargy and lack of motivation, being most common.

Stick to a good sleep routine and maybe let yourself have an extra half hour of sleep during these dark months of winter.  And, keep your normal exercise routine.  If you currently exercise for an hour day, keep with that, no matter what.   If you currently exercise 30 min. a day, stay with it! If you don't have an exercise routine, create one - 15 min. of walking daily over your lunch hour will do just fine. The daylight outdoors will be a big benefit.  If you currently are always exercising indoors, get outside for 15 min. a day or try an outdoor activity as part of your normal routine.  You'll need to create some time for exposure to daylight by getting out there when the sun is out and mid-day is the best time to do so.

To get through this round of Daylight Savings and the upcoming shorter daylight hours due to winter - keep a good sleep routing, get some exercise, and get outdoors!  How will you fare?

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