Anyone else feel a little off when the alarm went off this morning?
Especially now that we’ve officially “fallen back” an hour with our clocks?
“Wouldya just ‘leaf’ me a alone?”
What a difference an hour makes. And what a difference perspective does, for that matter, too. I mean, here everyone’s telling you that “you get an extra hour” of sleep. But, if we’re being honest, doesn’t it kinda feel like we all got exactly the opposite of that? And a lot of that’s got to do with our circadian clocks. (Like the sun suddenly rising when you’re still in sleep mode – sending your body machine the message to activate awake mode.) The bummer? Some studies have shown that it can take up to a week to adjust to that.
So what do we do to hack the fall back?
Surprisingly, a lot of the suggestions are similar to your typical sleep tips. Get a regular rest schedule. Don’t go overboard on your cup’ve caffeinated uppers. Minimize the imbibing. Exercise. However, with some simple tweaks, some of these can be catered to the autumnal torpor you’re feeling this week.
As mentioned above, light guides your cycling of sleep status versus seize-the-day mode. That’s why they suggest not to be around blue light after dark. (It sends the message to your brain that it’s not zonk o’ clock after all.) The best thing to do? Take advantage of that. If it’s getting darker earlier, try to get to bed earlier (but not too early just yet – more on that in number four). Likewise, rise early instead’ve opting for that extra hour they lied and said we could use to sleep in. Trying to sleep as those sun rays are staging a B&E through your blinds is a surefire way to eff up your day. Treat them photons like paintball pellets. As soon as they hit you, you’re out of the game. (And by game, I mean bed.) Get up and move. Come into the light.
2.) Exercise outside, early
As a yes-and to number 1, moving is crucial. And it’s preferable to do it outside. By exercising early on, you get a great endorphin rush to wake and carry you throughout the day’s remainder. What’s more, by doing it outside and exposing yourself to natural light, you allow your melatonin levels to adjust so that your sleep this evening will A.) come on more quickly once you lay down, and B.) be less fitful.
Now, I’ve heard seemingly conflicting advice on this one. Some aficionados of dozing will tell you to listen to yourself and lie down if your body’s demanding mattress time. Others will chastise naps. But, the general consensus is this: so long as you keep it to 20 minutes or less and don’t do it too close to bedtime, you should be good. If you’re like me, though, and wake up bewildered whether that nap’s 5 minutes or 50, you might wanna rely on a punctual pillow time each night instead.
And how punctual should that bedtime be? Not too many hours after sundown (preferably). But, for moving back the clock? The pros say to make it a bit later. Before rewinding your Rolex for fall, you should do a bedtime time taper. Make your bedtime about fifteen minutes later each night up until the change and you’ll be all adjusted by the time it comes. Granted, it’s a little late to try that now, but it’s nonetheless a great tip for next year. (Also, you’re welcome to try it on for size after the fact and lemme know if it speeds up your body’s seasonal synchronicity.)
5.) Enjoy your caffeine but end it earlier
Anyone else roll their eyes when they see the “put down the caffeine by noon” commandment from the rest experts? I mean, it’s good advice. Having the stuff too late in the day’s what keeps you bug eyed in bed for hours later and swatting the alarm clock come morning. But when you work until after 7 P.M. and have to be on point for patients for that entire time like I do, quitting that mocha or matcha before noon’s can be beyond challenging. You can pry the mug of green tea I’m gripping from my cold dead hands. (Or, ya know, after three or four, which is when I’m willing to quit sipping it.) But what I could do is make this one adjustment they suggest we should be doing: whatever your caffeine cutoff point was before, just move it up an hour as well. Or a half hour. Or fifteen min-…
(Or maybe I can ride out this November lethargy/bedtime zest rollercoaster ’til spring?)
So, that’s it – your five point clock hack.
Now, get out there ‘n show that inimical little circle living on your wrist it doesn’t dictate your wakefulness.
Best’ve luck curing your own fall-tigue symptoms!