I used to think that when we turn back our clocks in the fall I was getting a bonus hour that allowed me to sleep in an extra hour. This year, I’m acting as if we didn’t gain an extra hour and using it to get back to the workout routine I let slip over the summer.
Our bodies have an internal clock, but it can’t actually tell time. It’s definitely something anyone who has ever experienced jet lag knows. I learned this when I started traveling to BC for work. It didn’t matter what time I went to bed the first night, I always seemed to wake up at 3:00 AM, because my body still thought it was 6:00 AM.
When I was in my early and late teens, my mother used to always say that I needed to get more sleep. She would tell me how much better I’d feel if I started a routine and went to bed a bit earlier. Like a lot of the other advice she gave me I didn’t take it until I was much older and wiser. Isn’t it funny, the older we get, we begin to realize how often our parents were actually right.
Unfortunately, the amount of sleep we get doesn’t always indicate how rested we really are. While we are told to spend 8 hours a day (or 1/3 of our lives) asleep, the overall quality of our sleep depends on several other factors. This short video helps clarify things https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVQlcxiQlzI
Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from our phones and other electronic devices—interferes with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle, as well as each phase of sleep we go through during the night.
A few weeks ago I took a friend’s advice and started turning off my phone by 9:30 PM. As a result, I was actually quite surprised at how good I slept and how refreshed I felt the next day. For the last few nights, I decided it was more important to get caught up on emails from the day before closing my eyes. Although I fell asleep around the same time, I found that the quality of sleep wasn’t as good and I still had to drag myself out of bed when the alarm went off at 5:30 AM. I guess that just goes to show that when we’ve gotten used sleep deprivation, we forget how good it feels to get a good night’s sleep. Tonight, the emails can wait and the phone stays shut off.
Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall based on the recommendations, but also to examine the quality and quantity of your sleep as it’s being affected by things like stress, room lighting, and more. To see how much sleep you should be getting, check out the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations. http://www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218%2815%2900015-7/fulltext
Make better use of that bonus hour and get a jump and start your workout a bit early? Your body and mind with thank you…guaranteed! Our “fall back” this year came Sunday, November 1st. Don’t forget, our bodies will take a few days to adjust to the new time so why don’t you try something different. If you normally wake up at 7:00 AM but with the time change your internal clock wakes you up at 6:00 AM, don’t fall back into bed. Instead, use Mel Robbin’s 5-second rule and immediately jump out of bed to start your day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoQEY2sIMTg.
If you’re reading this article a few days late, no worries. Your body still hasn’t totally adjusted to the time change yet. Try it tomorrow, it may take a few days to get used to it but a week from now, you’ll be glad you did, guaranteed!