Do You Have Trouble Sleeping During Springtime?

Some people have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep during the spring season. There are several reasons for this, and there are measures that can be taken. Although spring is the season that many look forward to as they emerge from the cold, gray winter weather, there’s a price to pay for warmth and longer sunlit hours. The sun may actually rise before your body is ready for it, and the light suppresses melatonin production, the hormone that makes you sleepy.1

Other reasons for poor sleep quality during the spring months include the onslaught of allergies (to pollen and other airborne allergens) and an energy surge. Just as melatonin decreases, serotonin levels rise in the spring, boosting energy levels and making it more difficult to sleep at the usual time.2 The good thing is that a rise in serotonin directly influences people’s feelings of happiness, so perhaps you are in a better mood when spring arrives.

It’s hard enough to get sufficient restful sleep, but have you heard the cruel truth that while you suffer from sleep deprivation, you actually tend to gain weight? Here’s why: During sleep, leptin levels increase, telling your brain you have plenty of energy for the time being and there’s no need to trigger the feeling of hunger or the burning of calories. The decrease in leptin brought on by sleep deprivation can result in a constant feeling of hunger and a general slow-down of your metabolism. Ghrelin, on the other hand, tells people when they need to eat. People who don’t sleep enough end up with too much ghrelin in their system, so the body thinks it’s hungry and it needs more calories, and it stops burning those calories because it thinks there’s a shortage.3

You can improve the quality of your sleep and recharge this spring with these simple tips:

  • Establish and maintain a bedtime ritual. Just as children benefit from a repetitive bedtime routine that gears both body and mind for sleep, so do adults. Whether it’s taking a shower, reading or meditating, try to consciously lay in bed and relax from the head down, one muscle group at a time. Slow down your breathing.
  • Visualize images instead of words.4 Envision something calming in your mind rather than focusing on lists or things you heard or said throughout the day. Focus exclusively on Active Wellness images.
  • Shorten or eliminate daytime naps. According to the Mayo Clinic, limit yourself to 10 to 30 minute naps and make sure you take them no later than mid-afternoon.5
  • Keep your bedroom temperature on the cool side. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.6 The slightly cool temperature is believed to help the body relax and stay asleep.
  • Exercise daily. Expending energy during the day helps your body feel tired enough to go to sleep faster.
  • Limit the use of electronic devices at least an hour before your bedtime. The light that emanates from a laptop or cell phone activates the brain.7
  • Eat a Mediterranean diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, whole grains, fish and olive oil. Eating a well-balanced diet helps maintain feelings of well-being, which in turn helps you sleep.
  • When the sun shines before your alarm, it may cause you to wake too early. To sleep on your own schedule rather than the sun’s, keep your room dark. A simple solution is to wear a Kenko PowerSleep Mask that not only blocks out light but also includes patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology that may help you sleep better.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable and your covers keep you comfortably cool or warm. Kenko Sleep Products help you do just that.

 

1https://www.sleep.org/articles/refresh-your-sleep-this-spring/

2https://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/articles/5-ways-to-tell-if-you-have-spring-fever.aspx

3 https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/sleep-obesity1.htm

4, 5, 6, 7 https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/springtime-tips-better-sleep-through-night

Keep Alert as We Transition to Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts on March 10 in most of the United States, parts of Canada and some areas of Mexico. In the European countries that adopt DST, many will make the transition on March 31 this year. Many countries around the world have chosen not to have DST in 2019. When DST is not observed, it is called standard time, normal time or winter time.

Although changing to DST only involves an hour’s difference (losing an hour in the spring and gaining one in the fall), there can be a wide range of responses. Some of us don’t feel a difference at all, while others may experience a few days of fatigue from a change in sleep patterns due to having to reset our 24-hour natural cycle known as “circadian rhythm.”1 Internally generated, our circadian rhythm may be influenced by the environment, behavior and medications.2

In general, losing an hour in the spring is more difficult to adjust to than gaining an hour in the fall.3 It is similar to airplane travel; traveling east we lose time and may experience difficulty falling asleep at the “earlier” time. Going west, we may fall asleep easily at the “later” hour but have a difficult time waking.

If you have the foresight to plan ahead for losing that hour of sleep, you can go to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual for a few nights leading up to the time change. This may help your brain and body make the transition more smoothly.4 You can also expose yourself to sunlight as early in the morning as you can. This tells your internal clock that it’s time to get moving. If sunlight is unavailable where you live, use bright lights to simulate natural light to enhance mental and physical alertness.5

For some people, it can take as long as a week for their circadian and sleep rhythms to adjust to the time change. Regular exercise at the same time daily may help you get back on track, as well as going to bed and rising on a schedule. 6

In more extreme cases, the time change is linked to changes in health, diet and even the tendency to get into an accident. Sleep expert Chris Winter, M.D. explains, “Our bodies function on an internal schedule, from hormone release to body temperature to cognition—sleep is linked to them all. Your body receives signals from hormones, like ghrelin and leptin.”7 Dr. Winter further explains that these two hormones are related to cravings for food and feelings of being full, but are also “intimately associated with sleep, which is part of why when we’re not sleeping well, we tend to overeat.”8

Research published in 2009 showed the Monday after switching to DST saw a 5.7% jump in workplace injuries and nearly 68% more workdays lost to injuries, meaning they were more severe. 9 These conclusions were reached by analyzing U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration injury data from 1983 to 2006.

To prepare for an easy transition into DST, sleep a little earlier on the days before and wake a little earlier as well. Expose yourself to natural light (or simulated natural light) as early as possible upon waking. Eat a healthy breakfast to notify your body the day has begun.

To help block out light for better sleep, wear the Kenko PowerSleep Mask with patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology. Place the KenkoGround on top of your Kenko Naturest® Mattress Topper and sleep with some part of your skin touching it to help you stay grounded and connected to Nature even while in bed! You can practice Active Wellness 24/7!

 

1,2,3 https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/coping-with-time-changes

4, 5 https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/reason-daylight-savings-time-can-give-you-jet-lag

6 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/daylight-saving-time-fall-back-doesnt-equal-sleep-gain-201311016836

7, 8, 9 https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/daylight-saving-time-4-surprising-health-effects-falling-back-ncna929546