Losing Daylight Is Serious Stuff, whether You’re a Lark, Owl or Hummingbird

Are you a lark, who prefers an early-morning schedule; an owl who likes to stay up late and sleep in or a hummingbird, who can more easily adapt to either situation?

"One in ten of us is an up-at-dawn, raring-to-go early bird, or lark. About two in ten are owls, who enjoy staying up long past midnight. The rest of us, those in the middle, whom we call hummingbirds, may be ready for action both early and late. Some hummingbirds are more larkish, and others, more owlish," according to The Body Clock Guide to Better Health: How to Use Your Body's Natural Clock to Fight Illness and Achieve Maximum Health by Michael Smolensky and Lynne Lamberg.

To find out more about determining which bird you are, read an excerpt from the book: Are You a Lark, an Owl or a Hummingbird?

The phrase, Spring Ahead and Fall Back, was created to help us remember which way to turn the clocks in spring and fall, to accommodate Daylight Savings Time. The phrase, Easier Said than Done, describes our feelings about losing an hour of daylight in the fall, and an hour of sleep in the spring, to make the change.

In most areas of the Western World, DST ends on Sunday, November 1, when we turn our clocks back one hour, to move from Daylight Savings Time back to Standard Time. The use of Daylight Savings Time is hotly debated in scientific and medical communities, as we learn more about our circadian rhythms.

Researchers have attributed everything, including our relationships, food choices, medical conditions and life-spans, to our inherited body clocks. Check out the WebMD feature, Why You're an Early Bird or a Night Owl.

Whether you are pro or con Daylight Saving Time, an owl, lark or hummingbird, and no matter which hemisphere you call home (those in the southern hemisphere are springing forward--and expecting summer--those lucky ducks) with a few helpful tips from Belleruth, you don't have to lose sleep due to the time change.

  1. If possible, try to go to sleep and wake up routinely at around the same time each day (even on days off).
  2. If you're a worrier, try to make a habit of writing down, before bedtime, all the things you need to take care of for the next day, so that you are, in essence, getting them out of your head.
  3. Consider napping. Napping can be a beautiful thing, but not after 4 p.m. (by the clock).
  4. Getting sufficient natural light during the day is equally important for regulating your melatonin production, so make sure to spend some time outside if you work in an area with artificial light.
  5. Keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated.
  6. Keep your sleeping space simple, uncluttered and pleasing to the eye. Surround yourself with a few objects that feed your spirit and nourish your soul.
  7. Don't rely on alcohol to relax you at bedtime. It's likely to cause you to wake 2 or 3 hours later.
  8. If you read before falling asleep, avoid back-lit reading, as on a computer or tablet. That kind of light wakes up your brain.
  9. Before bed, avoid activities like balancing your checkbook and watching violent movies or TV. Instead try relaxing with some yoga breathing, soothing music, meditation or guided imagery.

For more information, read the free Health Journeys Wellness Report, An Epidemic of Sleeplessness by Belleruth Naparstek.

To view a list of areas where DST is observed, and those where it isn't, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/2015.html

Are you a lark, owl or hummingbird? Let us know your tips for navigating the spring and fall time changes. As always, we love hearing from you. Don't forget to change your clocks on Sunday.