How to Benefit from the Switch to Standard TimeNov 05, 2023
Have you heard that it’s healthier to “get to bed early?”
Have you tried to do this, but your mind is just not ready?
Have you gotten into the habit of being online or watching TV later into the evening?
We all know that restful sleep provides the foundation for our mental and physical well-being. After a day of stimulating activity, our bodies are ready for and need deep sleep.
Just like in nature, our physiology is dependent on cycles of activity and rest. We will be healthier if we live in sync with the Rhythms of Nature. Just look at any animals, including our family pets. They know when it's time to sleep, and have no trouble settling down for the night!
But how can we teach our body to adjust to an earlier bedtime?
Say what you like about the pros and cons of the twice yearly switch between Daylight Savings and Standard Time, there is one benefit that you can make use of this week!
If you’ve been struggling with the idea of going to bed earlier, this is your opportunity!
As with many things we are trying to change, the first step is Awareness.
Rather than using the change this week to Standard Time as an opportunity to stay up an extra hour, do yourself a favour, and notice when you start to feel tired.
If you allow yourself to be aware of the signals from your body, this feeling of tiredness will start to be noticeable as you wind down towards the transition from the Kapha time period to Pitta, which happens around 10pm. (See previous discussions of this HERE.)
So pushing yourself to stay awake past what your body thinks is bedtime (now an hour earlier on the clock) means that you’re liable to feel your “second wind” and be able to stay up even later.
But whether your mind wants to stay up later or not, your body certainly does not!
This extra mental energy is usually the result of a burst of cortisol, as your body struggles to function and regulate energy to keep you going in what it perceives to be an emergency situation. However, if this continues over the long term, you will fast-track yourself to burnout and exhaustion. So go to bed before the second wind hits and save your adrenal glands from unnecessary extra work.
And what this all comes down to is the next Step to Better Sleep, which is:
Do your best to have “Lights Out” by 10pm.
Why is that?
Pitta is a time period where your digestive fire, your Agni, is the strongest.
We think of digestion as what happens every time we eat.
It turns out there is another kind of digestion—the digestion of experiences.
Because our Agni is strong once again between 10pm and 2am.
If we are asleep, this is the opportunity for our experiences throughout the day to be processed, and for memories that need to be retained to be added to our long-term memory.
As well, this is the time when our brain in sleep mode has the chance to detoxify itself of any waste products that have been generated by the metabolic processes happening in the brain while we are awake.
If you are still awake after 10 o’clock, or even later, this will shorten the body’s opportunity for this kind of digestion. Recent studies have shown that a lack of sleep may lead to a build-up of toxic substances in the brain – the beta-amyloid plaques and tau proteins linked to Alzheimer’s – and this in turn may lead to memory issues and dementia.
Don’t forget that after 2am, we move on to a Vata time period, when other processes take over, and so we want to maximize the nighttime digestion period from 10pm to 2am by being asleep!
Summary of your evening activities:
- After dinner, begin to wind down as your body wants to prepare for sleep.
- Turn your screens off by 8pm.
- Use this time for relaxing activities and self-care.
- Be aware of your body beginning to feel tired, and do your best not to push this feeling away!
- Get ready for bed, and prepare for sleep with some light reading, meditation, Breathwork, whatever might relax you.
- Then by 10pm, you will be more than happy and ready to turn out those lights, and settle into sleep.
When you find yourself feeling tired “earlier” than normal this week, do yourself a favour, give into this feeling, and go to bed!
So What's Next?
Here’s a Sneak Peak of the new
15 days, Five habits, 1 goal
· Education, Coaching
· Accountability, Empowerment
· Five Habits that make a difference
· Coaching and accountability to keep you on track
· Change is possible!
Great Sleep is only 2 weeks away
· Together, we can do this!
Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life (Harper Paperbacks, 2019)
Patrick Holford, The Stress Cure (Piatkus; 2015)
The Sleep-Dementia Connection https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-sleep-dementia-connection/
3 Ways to Cleanse Your Brain Lymph https://lifespa.com/health-topics/brain/3-ways-to-cleanse-your-brain-lymph/
Brain may flush out toxins during sleep https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/brain-may-flush-out-toxins-during-sleep
For more info on this and other natural health topics:
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