Outsmart Daylight Savings Time

March 31, 2016 

Those still struggling with a Daylight Savings Time (DST) energy drain might just beg Starbuck’s to introduce a jumbo sized Venti coffee to get them through their day.  Being plunged back into dark mornings can be brutal .  A study in the journal “Sleep Medicine” found it can take some people up to three weeks to recover from the sleep schedule changes.  According to the American Time Use Survey from the U.S. Department of Labor, people wake up earlier in the morning and sleep about twenty minutes less at night once DST kicks in, which is enough to keep you feeling sleepy for days.

Before you reach for that extra boost of caffeine to get you through, try these tips to put a spring in your step that won’t give you the jitters or caffeine headaches:

-Prepare for your AM in the PM:  Pull out your clothes, set the timer on the coffee pot, think about what you’ll eat for breakfast.  Make sure the kids are ready too.  Mornings set the tone for your day so make it a happy one.

-Eat Breakfast:  Now’s not the time to skip breakfast. Your body needs all the energy it can get. Power up with easy protein rich foods like yogurt and fruit, cereals like Kashi Go Lean or make microwaved scrambled eggs and veggies (beat 2 eggs in a microwave-safe container, add a handful of veggies like spinach leaves and a sprinkle of cheese.  Zap for 30 seconds, stir, and cook another 30 seconds, or until eggs are solid.  To save time in the morning, prep and refrigerate the raw mixture until you are ready to heat and eat.)

- Take a Brisk Walk: Instead of grabbing a second (or third) cup of coffee for your morning coffee break, head outside into the sunshine. A brisk walk outside is perfect.  Exercise releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust.

- Get Bedtime Ready:  Dim the lights before bedtime to send a signal to your body it’s time for sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests making deep breathing, stretches and other relaxing exercises part of your pre-slumber routine.  Also, keep notepaper next to your bed to jot down any worries.

Overall,  the right combination of light and dark can help your body's circadian rhythm readjust so you can fall asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly – making your feel more rested and energized for your day ahead.