The Early Bird Wins (I Hope) When It Comes to Daylight Saving Time
I view my biological clock as a stubborn, old mule. She dictates her pace, and getting her to change is hard. Real hard.
She wants no part of the foolishness known as daylight saving time (DST). But the U.S. is among fewer than 40% of countries worldwide that use it, which leaves no choice.
Mules aren’t actually stubborn, according to handlers. They just don’t like doing things that aren’t a good idea, one owner told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Considering twice-yearly DST adjustments leave us feeling sleep-deprived and increase health risks, it’s no wonder my body doesn’t want to get on board.
You can’t force the headstrong offspring of donkeys and horses to do anything. You have to gain their trust and convince them, the mare mule owner explained.
I realized that’s been my mistake all along, whether we are springing forward or falling back for DST. I just wake up, change the clocks, and expect my body to cooperate. So, I’m trying a different approach this round to deal with the looming change on March 14.
Never too old for a bedtime
I suffer for weeks after the spring and fall changes, which others seem to bounce back from in days. The sleep/wake cycle of my circadian rhythm goes berserk, causing insomnia and even more debilitating fatigue and cognitive impairment than usual.
That fallout shouldn’t be a surprise, especially last year, when working from home meant going to bed and getting up whenever I wanted. So, the first move I’ve made to ease into the upcoming transition is to establish a bedtime. I’m also rousing from slumber on a set schedule, regardless of the day or how tired I am.
I’ve already started doing both a little earlier each day to prepare for what’s to come.
Digital detox for better rest
From sundown on March 5 to sundown on March 6, people will be taking a break from electronics as part of the National Day of Unplugging. I’ve participated before, but this year I’m starting my digital detox early.
The blue light emitted by cellphones, tablets, and laptops not only disrupts sleep, but may adversely affect health, according to Harvard Health. After going without mine during a four-day snow storm recently, I’ve developed a newfound addiction that I need to break.
Know your weaknesses
Spending too much time on electronics isn’t my only weakness. I’m shoring up my defenses in other areas as well to battle potential tiredness.
The first is my diet. Sleeplessness increases cravings for high-fat, calorie-dense food like doughnuts, cookies, and potato chips, a Northwestern Medicine study found. I know firsthand. So, I’m now replacing the junk foods I occasionally indulge in with healthy alternatives instead.
My second change was resuming winter walks outdoors, which I discovered last year benefit my body and mind. The regular doses of sunlight have improved my energy during the day and made it easier to fall asleep at night.
Hopefully with all of the changes, I won’t miss that hour of sleep.
Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.
- Snoozing for pay: If getting paid to sleep on new mattresses sounds like a dream job, you have until March 12 to apply, Time Out reported. SleepJunkie, a sleep science and review platform, is hiring a tester. If you land the temporary gig, you’ll be sent three mattresses over a two-month period to evaluate. The pay is $3,000, plus you get to keep your favorite mattress, worth up to $1,500. To apply, click here.
- Winter wonderland: Cold temperatures froze the base of Niagara Falls, creating some stunning views. Check out pictures taken by Reuters of ice and rainbows on the American side by clicking here.
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