• November 24, 2014

Springing back into a routine

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Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 4:30 am

Usually, I’m a morning person.

Despite working an evening shift that ends around midnight for most of my 10-year career as a professional journalist, I tend to get up by 9 a.m. most days.

Waking up four or five hours before reporting to work gives me lots of time to run errands, do laundry, cook, exercise and spend time outside on my patio with a cup of coffee before heading to the office.

It’s a habit that’s served me well over the years, allowing me to get a lot of things accomplished each day — at least until the last couple of weeks.

For some reason, turning the clocks forward an hour on March 10 took the spring out of my step.

Instead of going to sleep at my usual time of 2 a.m., I found myself staying up until 3 or 3:30, watching TV or surfing the Internet because sleep just won’t come.

Then when my alarm went off a few hours later, all I wanted to do was hit snooze, roll over and sleep for another hour or two.

While I’ve read many scientific studies and know it’s not unusual for people to take a day or two — maybe even a week — to adjust to daylight saving time, it’s unusual for me.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks feeling sluggish, chugging more caffeine than usual to force my brain to get into gear so I can get my feet moving and stay focused at work.

Ever the problem solver, I decided to do some research seeking medical advice to help get my body back on schedule.

Dr. Sunita Kumar of the Loyola University Medical Center had a couple of tips on medicalnewstoday.com to help the body adjust to daylight saving time:

Expose yourself to sunlight in the morning as early as possible in order to help reset your internal body clock.

Eat dinner at an earlier time than normal, back up your nighttime schedule and turn down the lights in the evening.

Since I implemented her advice on Thursday, I’ve started to feel more like myself again. When the alarm goes off, I get up, even though I still feel tired.

And when I get home at night, I’ll reach for a good book to unwind and quiet my mind instead of turning on the TV.

Hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll be back in the habit of waking up a few moments before the alarm goes off, ready to embrace a new day filled with more sunshine as winter transitions into spring.

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