On March 13, our country changes to daylight saving time. Each year, the Monday after the spring time change sees a substantial increase in car accidents, workplace accidents (PDF), and heart attacks. The connection is obvious. People who lose sleep feel tired. They have trouble concentrating. They suffer memory loss, irritability, and frustration. The Monday after the spring time change is probably one of the most dangerous days of the year. I want to see if there’s a way you can protect yourself from sleep deprivation by using Peak’s recovery services for the time change.
Recovery Services for the Time Change
There are three broad strategies that may help you avoid the worst effects of the time change.
1. Change Your Sleep Schedule Beforehand
The time change causes sleep deprivation because it’s extremely difficult to force yourself to go to sleep an hour earlier. But maybe it’s possible to approach it in stages. Start about a week before the time change and try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier than usual. Increase this interval by 15 minutes each night. When the time change arrives, you should already be on, or nearly on, the new schedule. This means reduced sleep deprivation on the day of the change.
If you need help getting to sleep earlier, you might try float therapy on the day you begin your schedule change. I have written before about the research showing that floating improves sleep. It relaxes you, and although most people don’t actually sleep during a float session, the meditative state it puts you in is a kind of rehearsal for sleep. So it can train you to achieve a deep state of relaxation, which may help you to invoke sleep when you need to.
If floating just doesn’t appeal to you, you can try massage. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage therapy can help to improve sleep. Massage increases serotonin levels in your body. And serotonin is what the body uses to make melatonin, which regulates sleep. As I pointed out in a previous post, about a dozen clinical studies have connected massage to better sleep.
2. Change Your Body’s Reaction to Sleep Deprivation
If you can’t change your sleep schedule before the time change, you are likely to be sleep deprived by it. In that case, you need to do what you can to deal with the resulting fatigue, memory loss, irritability, and trouble concentrating. Allow me to recommend photobiomodulation (PBM). I haven’t been able to find any research that shows PBM counteracts sleep deprivation, but I think that’s mostly because there are so many other exciting possibilities for PBM that researchers don’t get excited about this one. Most of our clients who use PBM, however, report that they emerge from their 15-minute sessions feeling refreshed and alert. Some have even said it’s as good as a nap.
3. Stabilize Your Disrupted Sleep Pattern
For some of us, the loss of an hour’s sleep can lead to a disruption in sleeping patterns. That could mean weeks of struggle to re-establish productive sleep. If you haven’t been able to prevent the disruption, and if PBM doesn’t help, I would suggest some sessions of whole-body cryotherapy (WBC). WBC has been shown clinically to reduce anxiety and depression. The researchers who proved it also suggested it stabilizes biological rhythms. There’s no promise it will help a disrupted sleep pattern. But a session under Peak’s protocols is safe, and it only takes three minutes. The risk, in other words, is low, while the potential payoff is high.
If you’re a normal, healthy person with good sleeping patterns, the spring time change is likely to leave you feeling forgetful, unfocused, irritable, and fatigued. You don’t have to take it. Come to Peak Recovery & Health Center and see if we can’t get you back on track.