Daily Archives: November 4, 2009

Messing with my time clock

Messing with my time clock

Good morning. I’ll say that even though for the first few days after the clock is adjusted, it’s usually anything but a good morning for me. My body can feel the difference and it’s not ordinarily pleasant for me.

Is there anybody out there who doesn’t have trouble with adjusting to the watch_800_287time difference every spring and fall? It doesn’t matter if I spring forward or fall back, I hate the first few days every seasonal change.

I don’t think it would matter a bit even if I didn’t have a clock. My body can tell the difference. Changing time messes with my body clock. In the fall it’s worse in the evening. My body says its time to head for bed. My wall clock says different. In the spring it’s worse in the morning. My clock says wake up and I say forget it.

It seems I have a window of opportunity to fall asleep at night when my body is willing to give in. If I miss that window then I’m awake for three or more hours longer. Sunday night my body said, “Go to bed.” There was nothing else to do so I obeyed even though it was only 8 o’clock. I usually try to head for bed around 9 to 9:30. I thought, “I can stay awake for an hour or so.” I must have been tired because I fell asleep right away, which usually doesn’t happen very often. I woke up thinking it was early Monday morning, looking at 9:45 on the clock, and groaning. It was going to be a long night. I had been asleep less than two hours and felt completely alert and wide awake. I finally went back to sleep, slept, awoke, slept, and awoke, thinking it was at least 6:30 only to discover it was 5:30. I got up anyway thus still messing with my time clock for Monday.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has these tips to help people cope with the upcoming time change:

1. Begin to re-jig your sleeping routine a few days before the time change by hitting the sack an hour earlier. (or later in the fall)

2. Re-adjust your mealtime schedule by eating dinner an hour earlier. (or later)

3. Be careful when operating machinery or driving on the day of the time change.

4. Avoid naps, especially close to bedtime.

5.Maintain a lighter schedule on the Monday after the time change. Try and minimize driving and avoid strenuous activities.

6.  Avoid turning to caffeine to wake you up in the morning and alcohol at night to help you sleep.

7. Eat properly, drink lots of water and remain physically active.

Now I will admit that I keep forgetting to do anything that will adjust my internal body clock, so I probably have no room to complain. Some say altering your routines by 15 minutes a day for four days can help the body to readjust, but my body doesn’t behave that easily.

I used to think since I have no set schedule due to retirement that I would be able to adjust to the time changes more easily, but such does not seem to be the case. I guess since the change occurs between Saturday night and Sunday morning, I do have a schedule for that one morning when I go to church.

Supposedly, it is worse for people in the spring when daylight savings time goes into effect. There is a noticeable 17% increase in automobile accidents on the following Monday morning. I guess because traffic is so much lighter on Sunday mornings not as many people who are affected by the change are on the road. It is interesting that there is not the same reduction of accidents in the fall. It is conjectured that as a nation we are sleep deprived as is, so the one hour adjustment makes a difference.

Some people rely on melatonin to help with the change. I’ve never been fortunate to have a good effect from melatonin supplements. I have never found the right dosage.  They either don’t work or they leave me feeling I’m mega drugged the next day. Supposedly, the older you get, the less melatonin the body produces. That is why so many older poeple have such erratic sleep cycles. One good thing about no schedule, if I feel a nap coming on during the day, I can usually give in without too much trouble. Three o’clock is usually the most troublesome time of day for me.  I can plan to do something logically, to be busy in an effort to avoid a nap, but if my body says “sleep” I’m going to sleep whether I’m trying to avoid it or not. I have known myself, if I’m working on a blog, to fall asleep at the computer for about twenty minutes. If I’m watching TV or reading it’s no contest.

Perhaps if I moved closer to the equator, I would have better luck at a more even schedule throughout the year. I have to admit that when I lived further north it was even worse of a problem than where I live now. When the days got shorter, I could swear I was part bear. I would go to work, but my activity level slowed noticeably to the point I practically hibernated. I had trouble with SAD.  At least down here I am able to function more of the winter and, after I stop being cranky whenever the clocks are changed, I usually go back to my regular activities without too much trouble. I make up for it in summer when I’m more active. DST is a plus for me. Problems with the lengthening and shortening of the daylight is not anything new. One of the earliest poems I memorized as a child dealt with this very issue. How many of you know this one? Robert Louis Stevenson said the same thing.

Bed in Summer

 In winter I get up at night
 And dress by yellow candle-light.
 In summer quite the other way,
 I have to go to bed by day.

 I have to go to bed and see
 The birds still hopping on the tree,
 Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
 Still going past me in the street.

 And does it not seem hard to you,
 When all the sky is clear and blue,
 And I should like so much to play,
 To have to go to bed by day?



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