Sleeping While the Sun Shines

Although many of us are still dealing with freezing temperatures, record snowstorms, low gloomy skies and pitch black nights, the days are actually getting longer and we are steadily moving toward spring. Our journey toward the sun is giving us a net gain of more than one minute of daylight each 24 hours, as we slowly, gradually and gently begin moving into more light each day. As nature intended.

But around the turn of the last century, a couple of eager beavers – a New Zealand entomologist named George Vernon Hudson, and William Willett, an English builder and outsdoorsman – independently conceived and promoted an idea to move the clocks an hour forward or backward…to artificially and prematurely manipulate the balance of light and dark.

Daylight-saving time began during World War I in some countries to conserve energy. The idea began in Germany and Britain and was used off and on by the United States into the 1960s, when Congress standardized the start and end dates for states that participated.

After more than 80 years in practice in the U.S. and abroad, Daylight Saving Time (DST) has become an integral part of the annual march of the seasons. Not surprisingly, the artificial tinkering of the gradual return and withdrawal of natural light can take a toll on the human body.

There’s a startling litany of negative effects DST can have, from Seasonal Affective Disorder to depression, suicide to heart disease — all from the artificial and seemingly minor disruption of natural biologic rhythms. Even on the less serious side, most people report that DST affects their sleeping patterns, resulting in drowsiness, headaches, night restlessness, additional stress and even resulting in chronic sleep deprivation. Although the time change can affect anyone, researchers believe it has a greater impact on night owls than people who like mornings.

A doctor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston stated DST “is really hard on children” predicting that school kids may lose some of the 9 – 11 hours of sleep needed daily.

Disruptions in sleep can have unpleasant consequences, negatively impacting mood, productivity, creativity, and overall quality of life. Awareness of the possibility of DST issues is the first step to stemming any sleep problems that may arise from the change. To avoid becoming sleep-stressed this year, specialists have made the following recommendations:

  • Be aware of any sleep changes, however minor they may seem at the time. Overcome them as soon as possible, either with additional sleep, using sleep enhancement products, or making changes to your sleep schedule as needed.
  • Become well-rested before the return to DST, scheduled for March 13 this year for most of the US.
  • Get up an hour earlier and go to bed an hour earlier in advance of the time change.
  • Take a nap on Sunday (March 13) if you need it, but not within a few hours of your regular bedtime.
  • Exercise, such as a brisk walk or run can help you adjust to the advanced clocks by stimulating serotonin and other neurotransmitters.

Monroe Products offers a full line of audio CDs, using the extraordinary Hemi-Sync® technology, to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, as well as catch a fully-restorative nap in 30 minutes. We also offer two different sized pillows with built-in stereo speakers to make your listening experience more comfortable.

 

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