Rise and Shine! How to Feel More Awake, Despite the Daylight Savings Time Blahs
Have you ever tried to argue with a five-year-old before you've sufficiently caffeinated for the day? It's basically the equivalent of trying to run a marathon while sitting on the couch, eating a bag of popcorn and binging your favorite Netflix series - it's just not possible. But, considering my dear, sweet boy thinks that if it's dark outside it has to be the middle of the night (even at 7 am), this is how my Monday through Friday goes this time of year. We'll call that reason #167 why daylight savings is the worst! Add to this the fact that no one in this house wants to get up on time and my being crushed night after night when I realize it's actually a whole 2 hours until bedtime, and it's one big, revolving nightmare that lasts from now til spring. We're still a couple weeks shy of the time change, and I don't know about you, but this Mama is already exhausted! This got me thinking...is it possible that we actually need more sleep this time of year?
The answer to this questions is, very unfortunately, no (cue the resounding "boo's"). If you came here to find a valid excuse to sneak in a little extra snooze time, I'm sorry to burst your bubble. Studies show, although we may feel more tired during the fall and winter months, there is no medical or scientific evidence to suggest our sleep needs vary at different times throughout the year - but do not fear! I may have a few tips to help you kick that napper's guilt. Read on to find out how to beat the daylight savings time blahs by feeling more awake through your day.
Drink more water. We all know it's important to stay hydrated, but did you know dehydration can rapidly lead to fatigue? If you ever needed more reasons to get in your recommended daily ounces of high quality H2O, there you go!
Get up and move! We all know that exercise produces endorphins, right? Well, what you may not know is that those endorphins do way more than just make you feel good. They actually trigger an internal response to wake us up and make us feel more alert. Don't have time to hit the gym? Even a brisk 5 minute walk can work wonders to get your blood circulating and help wake you up.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Protein is great for slowly releasing energy over time. While carbs may give you a quick boost of energy, they can also cause a pretty big crash a short time later. Opt for a high-protein snack when you can, but overall just be mindful of what you're eating. A healthy, well-balanced diet is the best way to get the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to keep us going.
Avoid over-taxing your eyes. Excessive use of technology (I see you, 2020 and all your zoom calls) can really put a strain on our eyes, leading to not only fatigue but also premature wrinkles. Yikes! Limiting screen time, whenever possible, or investing in a pair of blue light-blocking glasses (blue blockers) can really help.
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Turn up the lights! Ever wonder why you tend to hit a mid-afternoon crash? Your lighting could be to blame. Artificial lighting interrupts circadian rhythms. This can result in feelings of fatigue during the day, as well as trouble sleeping at night. You may not have much control over your office lighting, but at home, try swapping out your traditional bulbs for daylight bulbs. In doing so, you may be able to trick your internal systems into believing your light source is all natural! Avoiding dimly lit rooms can also play a big role in helping you to wake up. So, if you're feeling sleepy, try turning up the lights.
Take a short nap. When all else fails, it's ok to allow yourself a nap. Just be sure to keep it brief! Getting too deep into the sleep cycle during a nap can actually result in even more feelings of fatigue when you wake up. To enhance performance, increase alertness and improve mood, try to keep nap time between 10 and 20 minutes.
What are some of your top tips for beating the daylight savings blahs? Drop them in the comments section below. Also, if you try any of the tips above, we'd love to hear how they worked out for you!
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