If the transition from winter to spring has you tossing and turning at night, you’re not alone. When we spring forward with our clocks—oftentimes our sleep schedules are uprooted. As we adjust to the new season, springtime has it’s own set of sleep disruptions, such as seasonal allergies, longer days with more daylight, and the need for cooler temperatures. Here are some seasonal sleep tips you that help you get sound sleep:
- Every Breath You Take CouldImpact Your Sleep
April showers bring May flowers, but they also usher in allergy season. “One of the most powerful things women can sing a neti pot or other nasal rinse,” recommends Dr. Emerson M. Wickwire, co-director of the Center for Sleep Disorders in Maryland. “Pollen and other allergens negatively impact our breathing at night, and women are especially susceptible to these subtle breathing disturbances, which can wreak havoc on sleep.”
- Prepare For The Time Change
When it’s time to “fall back” or “spring forward,” Dr. Dalton-Smith advises counting backward from the time you need to wake by 8 hours. “This will be your daily bedtime,” she explains. “Now adjust that forward 15 minutes daily the week before Daylight Saving Time changes (or adjust back 15 minutes for standard time change). By the day of the change you will be well-rested and back on schedule.”
3. Longer Days, Shorter Nights
The main reason why we readjust our clocks (or spring forward) is to allow for more hours of sunlight during the day. And while longer days help us remain more productive, they can also encourage us to stay up later or not get enough shuteye. To encourage a good night’s sleep (minus sunlight in your eyes in the early morning hours) install blackout blinds or thicker curtains to bathe your bedroom in darkness so you can get a quality night of sleep.
- Fade To Black To Get To Bed
“The longer days make us want to stay up late,” says Dr. Dalton-Smith. But she cautions we should “resist the temptation to allow sunlight to pour into every window until the late evening hours.” To create a dark atmosphere, she suggests investing in a pair of blackout blinds or curtains designed to promote darkness even in the brightest sunlight. “Put these in the areas of your home you occupy during the evening and begin creating darkness around 8 p.m. each night (earlier if you have kids). By the time it’s bedtime, your body will have already started settling down.”
5. Eat For Sleep
“Most of us enjoy an evening snack, and this habit can be used to help promote high-quality sleep throughout the seasons,” says Dr. Dalton-Smith. “Focus on foods that contain magnesium, calcium, and potassium. This combination of nutrients increases serotonin and melatonin levels in the body.” For a nighttime snack she recommends a yogurt parfait with low-fat or Greek yogurt, bananas and strawberries, topped with almond slivers to stabilize muscle and nerve fibers. If you suffer from hot flashes, opt for a fruit smoothie or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with soymilk. The natural plant estrogens in soy will help to ease those hormonal fluctuations at night and lead to better sleep.
6. Spruce Up The Bedroom
“Out with the old and in with the new,” says Dr. Logan Levkoff. “Adding new features to your bedroom such as a lighter comforter, bedding in bright colors, or even a new supportive mattress can help you adjust to the seasonal changes that affect sleeping habits.” If you’re in the market for a new mattress, she recommends Sealy’s new line of Next Generation Posturepedic mattresses. The new design supports the body 20 percent better than other leading brands.
- Limit Stimulants For Quality Z’s
Dr. Dalton-Smith says stimulating activities too close to bedtime produce a surge of endorphins that are counterproductive to good sleep. Avoid paying bills or discussing financial stressors in the late evening hours. Limit the use of caffeine within 4 hours of bedtime. Cut back on all fluid consumption 2 hours before your bed time, as a full bladder can become the stimulant that prevents you from staying asleep throughout the night. Avoid evening snacks high in refined sugars like cookies or ice cream to prevent a late-night sugar high.
8. Bring Sexy Back For Better Sleep
“It’s no secret that America is a sleep-starved nation, and spending more time resting between the sheets has many health benefits,” Dr. Levkoff adds. “But getting a good night’s sleep can also have a positive impact on your relationship.” The certified sex educator says nearly 54 percent of men and 67 percent of women feel that more sleep would be the best way to improve their love lives. “So not only is healthy sleep important to weight control, mood and physical appearance, it’s key to satisfaction in the bedroom, too.”
9. Have A Wild-Down Routine For Bed Time
Dr. Lombardo, author of the bestselling book A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, says we respond to the same classical conditioning as Pavlov’s dog, which would salivate when he heard the bell ring because he associated it with his dinner. She suggests we develop a bedtime ritual such as reading a book, dimming the lights, or taking a warm shower or bath. “Your body will begin to associate this event with sleep,” she says, “allowing you to fall asleep more easily.
10. Develop A Sleep Schedule
“Even though we’re no longer children with a curfew,” Dr. Lombardo explains, “it’s important that you go to bed and get up at about the same time everyday, even with the time change. This allows your body to get into a rhythm.”