Here we go, East Coast! We are about to head into our ‘dark days’, as Daylight Saving Time ends, and we are pitched into eternal darkness at 3.30pm every day….
But, as hard as it may seem you can stay motivated, energized and light and bright at this time of year – simply by easing into the time change, setting up a consistent bedtime routine and using what are called ‘zeitgebers’, or regulators of circadian rhythm you can experience robust mental and physical health throughout the winter. Here’s how:
Stay Up Late 3 Nights Ahead
As a proponent of early bedtimes I can’t believe I’m saying this, but from tonight (Wednesday) onwards, set your bedtime back 15 minutes. Our bodies love consistency, so this is key for re-setting our body clocks to accept the time change, and won’t have you lying awake for an hour on Saturday night!
If you typically go to bed at 10pm it will look something like this:
Solidify Your Bedtime Routine
I’m such a fan of bedtime routines that I’ve had one for years (for the in-depth how to see my book ‘24 Hours to Less Stress, More Sleep), but if you don’t have a consistent routine now is the time to start one so you are in the habit by Saturday night.
Your bedtime routine literally trains your body to feel tired by the time you go bed, as we are both manipulating your circadian rhythm to start the hormonal cascade that causes sleep, and on a practical basis creating rituals that will have you nodding off before you have even turned the first page of that novel you couldn’t wait to read. Here’s how:
The Next Day
Get up when you naturally wake up on Sunday, and even if it’s earlier than usual don’t be tempted to go back to sleep. Chances are you are a little more well rested on a Sunday than during the week, and going back to sleep is going to make your feel tired and sluggish for the rest of the day. Waking up early will also help you make the most of the daylight hours, which we know are woefully short at this time of year.
Circadian Rhythm Regulators
To keep you feeling energized and motivated on this first day, and as the short winter days stretch out ahead of us it’s important to understand how regulators of circadian rhythm regulate our sleep/wake and energy cycles. Here’s how we can manipulate them to help us get through the dark times ahead:
For more sleep hygiene and all day energy tips you can pre-order my new ebook ‘24 Hours to Less Stress, More Sleep’ which launches in early January. Those who order before December 1st will be entered into a prize draw to win a Private Coaching Session with me (worth $295)!