Twice per year, every year, I run into about a weeks worth of sleep problems. You may have guessed it, my problem revolves around our Fall-back and Spring-forward time changes that take effect.
Most people don’t mind the time change in the fall because it is viewed as gaining an hour of sleep. While telling yourself that may work for you, my body doesn’t buy it. You see, I am a creature of habit and thrive on routine.
Monday through Friday, my alarm clock sounds at 4:30 AM and I begin to get ready for work. There are times when I even wake up before the alarm clocks sounds. In those instances, I just turn off my alarm and get my day started a little ahead of schedule.
The truly fascinating thing is that in the event my alarm doesn’t sound (power loss or user-error), I generally only oversleep for a certain amount of time before I awake in a panic. That panicked feeling comes without me even having to look at the clock, its almost as if my body knows what time it is.
When the time change takes effect in the fall, by body isn’t aware of the reason for the change. Instead, my body continues on with its routine and I wake up in a panic, roughly an hour early every day. It seems to take about a week for my internal clock to make its adjustment and my sleeping pattern gets back to normal.
You are probably wondering if I just start my day an hour early or if I just go back to sleep? It is actually a little bit of both. Generally during this week long re-adjustment period, I try and go back to sleep until the alarm sounds. Kind of force my body to learn the new routine. Often times though, I just can’t fall asleep. My mind is racing due to that “I’m late for work” panic that jars me from my slumber.
Most people seem to love getting that extra fifteen to twenty minutes of sleep in the morning. For me, that extra time is all the difference needed for me to feel miserable first thing in the morning. My wife often refers to me as a morning person, unless I try to take advantage of the snooze feature of my alarm. In that case, I feel more like a zombie walking around half asleep.
In those extra few minutes, I must begin to enter a stage of sleep that is difficult to recover from unless done naturally. When you introduce an alarm to that form of sleep, its tough for me to shake it and my days don’t get off to the greatest of starts.
Fortunately, at the time of my writing this post, I’ve only got one more work day until this time adjustment week is complete and I can look forward to my normal sleep pattern once again.