It’s that time of year again. On March 14, at 2 a.m., we will spring our clocks forward. Although the change means longer days, this fast-forward does have one drawback: one hour less of sleep. With as many as 75 percent of Americans already citing sleeping problems, this 60-minute deficit is no small matter. In fact, it can make you fatigued and less alert. It’s no wonder that car crashes increase following the time change, according to a University of Michigan expert. The good news is that resetting your clock this Sunday doesn’t have to make you feel out of sorts. Use these tips leading up to and all throughout the season to feel healthy, happy, energized and rested.
Tempting as it is to surf the Web in bed, your laptop’s glow may prevent you from falling into a deep slumber. And recharge your cell phone or iPod in another room so its lights don’t disturb you. Don’t want to give your electronics the boot? At least shut them down an hour before snooze time.
Tuck yourself in
Creating a prebedtime routine is key to easing yourself into dreamland. It is especially important when you’re trying to go to sleep a little earlier than usual, which is a smart move before the time change. Cue up relaxing music 45 minutes before you tuck in for the night. Take a warm bubble bath for 10 minutes and read a boring book once you’re under the covers, as hitting the books before bedtime will help bring on the zzz’s. Nerves keeping your eyes open? Jot down worries in a journal to clear your mind.
Resist the urge to sleep in
Not maintaining a consistent wake-up time disrupts your body’s clock. Rather than linger in bed because it’s “really” only 7 a.m., juice up with a 15-minute afternoon nap later in the day, if you’re still dragging.
Take a time-out
Reserve 15 minutes to meditate or do a series of stretches first thing in the morning. A few minutes of mellow quiet will lower stress.
Eat a smart breakfast
Fuel up with foods that are high in protein and fiber; they metabolize slowly and give you hours of energy. Choose scrambled eggs withvegetables,whole-grain toast and a glass of milk; almond butter and bananas on whole-wheat toast; or a refreshing berry-yogurt smoothie and three whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter to feel energized on Sunday—and all season long.
Exercise for energy
Although it may be difficult to lace up your sneaks when you’re feeling draggy, breaking a sweat can actually help you ditch drowsiness. Boost your energy with a bike ride or outdoor run; the fresh air relieves the blues and feelings of fatigue.
Take a bite out of exhaustion
Eating every three to four hours ensures an energy boost, so grab crunchy apples, celery, snap peas and nuts. Snack on a handful of trail mix with antioxidant-rich goji berries.
Fit in some fun
Losing yourself in something you enjoy is key to feeling happy and revitalized. Share lunch with a friend who makes you laugh, visit the zoo or another place you enjoy, or just laze on the porch with a good book. You’ll feel relaxed and ready to relish the beautiful spring days ahead.