When we think daylight savings, we think warmer weather, longer days and new opportunities for us to make the most of the outdoors. For many Australians, daylight savings signals the beginnings of a serene summer; Christmas time, holiday parties, and the glistening excitement of a new year.
Daylight savings happen in many different parts of the world, and they might mean different things to you, depending on where you live. The one thing we all have in common with daylight savings though, is our sleep. You might be looking forward to getting an extra hour of sleep once it kicks in - but the amount of rest that you get will depend in part on your sleep habits.
Daylight Savings and Your Circadian Rhythm
If you're the sort of person who doesn't wake up until your alarm clock rings, you might get some extra rest, but only if you go to bed at your normal hour. Seasonal time changes can disrupt your sleep habits and circadian rhythm, creating a disconnect between your body's internal clock and your daily schedule. It can be disruptive for many people, especially those who find it hard to wake up in the morning.
The best way to do combat this s by planning ahead - perhaps by adjusting your bed time and wake time by 15 minutes every day. If you can do this a few days in advance, then the night when you have to make the change tends not to be a big deal!
Consider Your Lighting Arrangements
Darkening the room is an important cue to stimulate melatonin production. This can be challenging during daylight saving, depending on your home. Trying to block out light – say, with thicker curtains – is a good strategy. Keeping the amount of light in the room consistent will also make for better sleep.
We're not just talking about your bedroom lighting here, either! The amount of daylight you receive is also paramount to how your body perceives it's sleep and wake times. As always, it's important to remember to stay away from screens, too. Blue light emitted by screens from digital devices can suppress melatonin and delay sleepiness. It’s a good idea to turn screens off at least an hour before bed and to keep them out of the bedroom at night.
Adjust Your Eating Habits
We already know that nutrition plays a huge role in the quality of our night's sleep. But in terms of dinner timing, it's important to remember that this may need to be adjusted, too. Feeling hungry or full before bedtime can delay sleep by making us too alert, or uncomfortable. Remember to also avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening - if you're finding yourself in desperate need of a hot drink, reach for some tea instead.
As we move into the warmer months in Australia, you might find you need to change other aspects of your Sleep Ritual to feel comfortable. To help out, The Goodnight Co. has put together a Summer Sleep Ritual guide for you right here!