It’s already April, but the spring time change and drastic weather shifts can throw off even the best of us. And if you’re a frequent jetsetter, adjusting to a new time zone can feel like a boxing match that goes the distance. If you’re already tracking your sleep with a Fitbit device, that’s a great start. To take it a step further, our bodies crave routine via circadian rhythms, and there are specific things you can do to help get your body and mind back on track. So we asked clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron how to set things right.
- Start living on the new time zone as soon as you can — It’s the first thing you should do when adjusting to daylight savings time or a time change. The natural tendency is to sleep in and hit the snooze button as a result of the late sunrise in the morning. But that’s only going to keep your clock shifted forward making it more difficult to get to bed and wake up at your desired time.
- Ease the transition by a gradual adjustment — If you wake up 15 min earlier for 4 days, you give yourself an achievable shift each day. At the same time, make sure to adjust your bedtime as well so you don’t short change your sleep. Start getting to bed a little bit earlier each night until you’re back on track. But be careful with this one. The last thing you want to do is lie in bed tossing and turning because your body isn’t ready to fall asleep.
- Set a defined routine – Our bodies crave regularity and keeping our circadian clock dialed in is extremely important in upholding quality sleep. So start setting a routine. In addition to defining your wake-up and bed times, eat meals at the same time every day, dial in your exercise calendar, and start to manage your light exposure. read more