Daylight Savings Time and Sleep Patterns
Those who have traveled across different time zones know all about jet lag – that feeling of fogginess and general fatigue due to the body’s natural sleep patterns being thrown off. What a lot of people don’t know is that seasonal time change can have the same effects on mental and physical wellness.
Losing one hour of sleep may not seem like a lot, but the groggy, unmotivated, and other feelings that come with interrupted sleep patterns are real. Did you know you can use mindfulness to take small steps to adjust your mind and body to the new time?
Introducing The Body and Mind to Mindfulness
One of the ways that you can take care of yourself during the biannual time change is incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. Mindfulness is achieved by focusing your attention on the present moment and peacefully acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
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The benefits of mindfulness can be applied to multiple areas of your life whether it be a morning meditation, a way to prepare for an important meeting, or to manage daily stress. Taking a pause and bringing your attention to the breath, allows you to notice how you are feeling, and also has surprising results for spring forward/fall back.
Adjusting to Seasonal Time Change with Mindfulness
If you have a difficult time with general fatigue and mental fog during the seasonal time change, it can be a miserable process to feel right again. In addition to adjusting your sleep schedule and making sure you get the right amount of sunlight, taking some time every day before bed to practice mindfulness has been shown to ease the transition.
During Daylight Savings, insomnia, fatigue and other stress responses from the body can trigger its natural “fight or flight” state. This can make it even harder for the body to relax and get the rest it needs during the time change.
Mindfulness has been shown to:
- Induce the body’s relaxation response
- Help the body rest and relax when it needs to
- Assist in helping you understand how you are feeling and what your body needs in the present moment
All of these points can help gently synchronize you back into a schedule that works for your body.
Taking Care of Your Body Through Daylight Savings
Adjusting to the biannual time change isn’t going to look the same for everyone. Everyone has different needs during this time of the year, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when Daylight Savings approaches:
- Learn What Your Body Needs. Everyone needs different amounts of sleep, sunlight, and mental relaxation to be at peak alertness and performance throughout the day. Meeting your body where it’s at with these needs is important all year long, but especially during periods of time change. Taking time for a daily mindfulness practice can help you stay connected with how you’re feeling both mentally and physically.
- Be Patient With Yourself. Just as everyone has different needs to adjust to losing one hour of sleep, getting back into sync also takes some longer than others. Whether it takes you just a few days, a full week, or longer, be gentle and patient with yourself. Using mindfulness meditation can also help you peacefully accept where your mind and body are at, which is important at a time when your mind needs less stress.
The Long Term Benefits of Mindfulness Exercises
In addition to helping the transition through Daylight Savings/time change, mindfulness is a tool that you can use to recenter yourself all year long. Whether you’re brand new to the practice or you’ve got some experience, it’s normal to have a learning curve while training your attention to focus inward.
Whether you only have five minutes a day or 15 to strengthen that important mind and body connection, the more time you can dedicate to practicing mindfulness, the easier it will become and the more you will feel its benefits throughout the day.
Allow yourself to adjust to the time change, it’s a gradual process! Register for a live Mindful Daily session today to get started