Spring Ahead

SLEEP! I’m literally crying out for sleep. I don’t care about anything else but sleeping. I’m so exhausted I’m barely functioning––seriously. It has been an absolutely horrible few weeks all packed full with no sleep. I’m cranky, moody, and virtually on the point of a meltdown. And to just make matters worse, there was a time change this weekend which resulted in a loss of one more hour of sleep.

Any of you feel the same? What’s your culprit for lack of sleep? Mine is the kids. They’re both teething right now, my daughter with two-year molars and the baby with his first set of pearly whites. I wonder why kids can’t just get all their teeth at one time. It seems so much more logical from a parent’s point of view. One big painful event and then it would be over. Oh, well; that’s life I guess.

These days I’m lucky to get 2-4 hours of sleep. Then like I said the time change occurred and I’m not sure I even remember sleeping. I’ve been feeling the effects now for a couple of days, and I think my daughter has too because she took a four-hour nap today which was a miracle. Too bad her younger brother didn’t follow suit.

So, what about it, did you feel the effects from the time change? Was the Monday- morning commute even more dreadful than last week?  Have you been wishing for an afternoon siesta to help ease your body into the “spring ahead” mode? I know I have!

The funny thing is my husband sent me an e-mail with an article attached entitled Bodies don’t spring ahead posted by USA Today. Guess what? It really does take days for our bodies to adjust to a simple one-hour time change. Imagine that! Here’s what the article had to say: 

“It’s just one hour, experts in chronobiology — the study of our internal body clocks — say it takes most people several days to adjust. (The fall change also is disruptive, but less so.) One recent study from German researchers, published in the journal Current Biology, found that some habitual night owls have trouble getting enough sleep for weeks after the spring shift — which, in effect, demands that we all go to bed and get up an hour earlier.”

The article goes on to state that there’s an increase in traffic accidents in the days following the time shift. What a great excuse to call in sick and stay off the roads (ha-ha)! We all know better than that, right?

Anyways, probably the most interesting part of the article is the information provided on how we jumble up our own internal clocks by our lifestyles. The way we live and function––perhaps even our jobs––changes our natural rhythm of sleep and before you know it, you’re body’s suffering the effects. The article states:

“•Some of us spend our nighttime hours bathed in artificial light, despite studies suggesting health risks. The latest study, published in Chronobiology International, found that Israeli women in neighborhoods that were well-lit at night had more cases of breast cancer than women in darker neighborhoods. Meanwhile, shift work — working at night or on rotating shifts — has been called a "probable carcinogen" by the World Health Organization. Years of overnight light exposure and sleep deprivation are chief suspects in that link.
•Teenagers in many communities start school about 7 a.m. despite a growing awareness that teen brains work better on later schedules. A poll from the National Sleep Foundation in 2006 found that 28% of teens fall asleep in school and 15% drive drowsy at least once a week.
•We’re spending less time outdoors, depriving ourselves of sunshine, nature’s master time-keeper. That could make it harder for our bodies to maintain healthy rhythms, Smolensky says.
•We’re getting less sleep overall, thanks in part to the 24/7 lure of our electronic devices. "People are staying up all night doing online trading, following the markets in Hong Kong," says Fred Turek, a researcher at Northwestern University.”
So, if you’re still feeling the effects from springing your clocks ahead this weekend, don’t worry; you’re not alone. And for the rest of us (me included) the homework assignment for this week is sleep. I don’t know how or when, but I’m going to sleep.
However, if I fail to do so, I’m blaming all my shortcomings on the time change, and I’m calling in sick! Do you think my kids would buy that one? I didn’t think so. Oh, well, it was worth a try!
Here’s to a peaceful, restful, sleep-filled spring. And some warm weather wouldn’t hurt either! Happy time change!