Autumn has come and gone, but many of us in the Midwest (with the above average temperatures) continue to fool ourselves that it’s just late summer or the early part of fall. Winter is still months away! I think not. Winter is right around the corner and turning back the clocks not only marks the end of daylight savings but a season change. As a result of turning back the clocks, we experience darkness at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, colder weather and changes in people’s moods due to their lack of sleep.
Being productive at work requires people to be positive, well-rested employees. Let’s look at some practical ways to ease into another season and hopefully get some sleep.
Instead of staying up until 11pm (your regular bedtime) take advantage of the extra hour of sleep, go to bed at 10pm. Let’s face it, many people are already sleep deprived because of their busy work/life schedules, so why make things more difficult on our bodies? Catch up on your Zzz’s. Avoid watching TV or surfing the net before bedtime. The light emitted from these devices will actually stimulate your brain and give you that “second wind” effect. You’ll find yourself staying up later than you may have hoped and then battling your alarm clock in the morning. Instead, cozy up with a book. When you start feeling sleepy or find yourself nodding off, go to bed.
For most people, the hour time shift does not lead to problems or full-on sleep disturbances. It’s an accumulation of shorter, dark days ahead coupled with frigid temperatures that make us believe there is no end in sight. Lack of sleep, depression, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue builds and your schedule is officially thrown out of whack. To combat some of these issues, I recommend that you make the most of your daytime hours. Try to see as much daylight as possible, get your exercise (preferably in the morning or mid-day since the motivation just isn’t there at 6pm when it’s darker than Darth Vader outside), purchase a light box if necessary, and try your best to stick to a routine.
These basic tips can help ward off the winter blues and help you get some sleep. Good luck and we’ll see you again in the spring when we “spring forward.”