Katelyn Sander

Fall Back without Falling Down.

Living Well

Written by: Meg Sharp, Wellbeing Consultant, Cambridge Group of Clubs

Over the past decade, we have made remarkable strides in understanding and embracing the neurology of circadian rhythms, natural sleep-wake cycles, and how they impact our health, mood, and behaviour.

We know our bodies thrive when we are well rested and there is a relatively consistent natural rhythm to our days and nights, our wake-move-feed-rest cycles that coincide with the natural rhythm of the sun and the moon.

A few days from now – at 2:00am Sunday, November 6th, to be exact – we are going to disrupt that natural rhythm. 

Here are a few fabulous tips to help you thrive through the transition:

  • If possible, shift your clock – by 10-15 minutes 4-5 days beforehand. If it’s too confusing to shift your actual clock – simply aim to shift your dinner and sleep time and subsequent waking and breakfast/coffee time by 10-15 minutes starting Wednesday or Thursday.

  • Prioritize and, therefore, schedule exercise – ideally outside and in the morning – Sunday as well as the first few days right after the clock change. Exposure to natural light improves mood and will help reset your circadian rhythm. Exercise – at any time – helps counter the negative effects of sleep deprivation, increases adenosine (which will help you fall and stay asleep), stabilizes blood sugars, and improves mood.
  • Eat protein rich meals and snacks. Reductions in quality and/or quantity of sleep can wreak havoc on your appetite. You crave sugar, simple carbohydrates, and caffeine – the consumption of which only serve to exacerbate the problem. Eating meals that are high in protein and fiber help keep blood sugar and cortisol levels stable, in turn keeping metabolism and energy high. 

  • Avoid the extra coffee. Especially after 2:00pm.
  • Drink lots of water. Changes in sleep cycles can be hard on your digestion. The water not only helps here but will also help keep your appetite and cravings in check.
  • Alcohol disrupts a good night’s sleep in the best of times. Make a point to avoid alcohol on Saturday night if possible. And if that’s an unreasonable request (I get it, I really do) then aim to abstain Sunday through to Thursday. Treat yourself to a fabulous bottle of wine on Friday, November 11th.
  • Be prepared to feel a little off. Breathe deeply. And be patient. With yourself and those around you. The disruption to our sleep-wake rhythm IS disruptive to our mood. Your spouse, kids, boss, parents, coworkers, everyone will likely be feeling a little frayed. Everyone will appreciate your calm, kind words, and presence. Be the person who can diffuse the tension, gently dry the tears, and offer a compassionate smile, ear, or shoulder. Bad moods are contagious. Good ones even more so.

Final thought: Hope is a powerfully wonderful thing. And maybe – just maybe – the day we don’t have to think about – or write about – clock changes is just around the corner…

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