Spring ahead! It is the time of year where we eagerly anticipate the return of green grass, warmer weather and a fresh outlook to months ahead. It is also a time when the hours of sunlight become more apparent and have an effect on our sleep cycle. During this solar transition, it is easy to become ungrounded and knowing how to adjust to the time change can save you a day’s worth of grogginess and delay.
Our circadian rhythms ebb and flow with the changing patterns of the sun. Looking to avoid reaching for that extra cup of coffee in the morning just to get you moving? Read below to find out how to help you adjust to the time change and get a fresh start to a fresh spring!
- Go to Bed Early
Since we “lose” an hour of sleep as we move the clocks ahead we need to replenish the sleeping hours we would normally obtain to feel refreshed and rested. Setting an alarm for bed time on your phone is an excellent way to remind yourself of when to go to bed. That extra hour of sleep doesn’t seem like much but sleep deprivation can have a detrimental effect on your mood, your cognition and your overall health, including your immunity. Planning and giving yourself that one extra hour can help mitigate the damage of sleep deprivation.
- Turn Off Artificial Light
We tend to take our phones into the bedroom with us and scroll incessantly through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to kill time. Failing that, there are laptops, iPod, tablets, readers and big screen TVs that seen to cluster themselves into an area designated for calm and peace. The electronic pollution in the bedroom can create a hive of activity and increase your heart rate, blood pressure and stimulate the mind, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn off the electronics, unplug the chargers and create a zone free of technology. You may find it helps you to sleep better and will help keep you from being distracted.
- Eliminate Alcohol or Caffeine
Excessive alcohol or caffeine close to bed is typically not a good idea if you are looking to wind down and help the body move into homeostasis. Caffeine can increase your blood pressure, heart rate and make it more challenging to calm the mind before bed. Your stomach, liver and kidneys must work to process out the excess fluids which can have a stimulating affect on your system. A calming herbal caffeine-free tea is a great alternative to beers and coffee, or even your grandmother’s tried and true method of warm milk (in my case, warm coconut milk).
- Create Calming Nighttime Rituals
A hot bath with some lavender oil is just the ticket to soothe away the stress of a long day and encourage the body to release tension, anxiety and stress. Creating a routine helps signal to the body and the mind that it is time to rest and in turn the body naturally slows down the digestive system and releases hormones within the body that are nourishing and healing. This could even be as simple as putting in ear plugs, wearing an eye pillow or dabbing essential oil or sleep spray on the body. These rituals create a space of awareness of the present moment and focus your attention to the task at hand.
- Meditate on your Gratitude
One of my favorite daily rituals is to write down a few thoughts in a journal to clear my mind from the day. It is a way to review what I was grateful for and what lessons or insight I have picked up along the way. Taking these few extra moments help your mind to process what is most urgent and allows for a free flow of thought and feeling. Oftentimes we carry so much unsaid and unspoken in the mind and heart and at night when the world seems to slow down, it is a good opportunity to listen to your inner voice and fill your cup with blessings, releasing burdens.