Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Tag Archives: sleep habits

Standard time is (much) better, so says science

0

This blog post is not going to make me popular.

I turned back time like Cher this morning, and like many of you, I’m for abolishing the twice-a-year clock switch-a-roo. However, I strongly advocate for keeping standard time and eliminating Daylight Saving Time — and so does science.

For what it’s worth, I understand why many folks prefer Daylight Saving Time. It’s about the illusion of more light per day (the result of summer and not DST). There’s a sense that you can go home from work and still have much of the day to come. You can get in a workout or go to the beach or have some patio time with family and friends, watching the sun set 2-3 hours after you get home.

However, this is not how the human body is wired — and that is the most important argument for either time standard. We should keep the clock schedule that scientifically is best for the human body.

And it’s no contest.

Read also: “Why Standard Time Is Better”

First, the return to standard time means it will be lighter earlier. Light is needed to get the body going, and for folks who have depression, especially seasonal depression, you want that light to happen in the morning. Light is not equal; it is much preferable in the morning if you have to pick one or the other.

Second, the return to standard time means it will get darker earlier. When it gets darker earlier, your body starts to get tired sooner — and that helps you get to sleep earlier and helps you sleep better.

And sleep is a factor in everything from heart health to car crashes. It impacts decisions at the highest levels, and it impacts how we treat each other each day. Better sleep would make the world a better place tomorrow.

I love it when we fall backward every year because it’s a return to what the time should be year-round. My hunch is that the overwhelming public support is for year-round DST and that scientific intervention into legislative matters on this topic will be met with the same disdain as we get with topics like climate change.

Sigh.

This topic is very much of an “eat your vegetables because they’re good for you” issue. But while the personal, anecdotal evidence might delude you into thinking that DST makes you happier and healthier, science is pretty clear that it does not.

So, you want to get rid of the twice-a-year clock change?

I agree. But pick the right schedule.

Standard time.

Morning workout: How do you get yourself up early to go run?

0

So, how in the world to you morning people do it? Any by do it, I don’t only mean “get up.”

I mean get up and exercise! How. Do. You. Do. It?

I work in the digital news business, and between work and home, I’m go go go go go go go. It’s constant. I’m doing great if I get seven hours of sleep per night, and many nights it’s between six and six and a half hours.

Going about my day is never a problem after six or six and a half hours, but getting up to do cardio is a never-gonna-happen for me most of the time.

But I’m trying. I’m setting my alarm for 6:30 each day this week in hopes of getting up and getting a 30-minute run in. Last night, I got to bed at 11:30 and didn’t fall asleep until 12:33.

I immediately adjusted my alarm to 7:15 a.m.

Over the years, I’ve cultivated several good sleep habits. I got rid of all blue light in my home in Norman, and since I’ve moved in with Kristi, I don’t think we have much or any blue light in our room there. You might not notice it consciously, but blue light causes you to produce less melatonin. I tossed my alarm and anything that gave off blue light. I turn my phone over so that the screen doesn’t show. And while I have always had a TV in my room, I mostly watch it when I’m awake.

I keep my bedroom cold: 66 degrees, summer or winter. And believe it or not, 66 is on the high side of where you should be for sleep. It’s recommended that your sleeping room be between 60 and 67. For me, anything below 64 is too cold, but 66 appears to be perfect. A by-product of this is that your pillow is more likely to be cool to the touch!

I’ve also taken Diphenhydramine for a couple years, fully admitting that I’m not sure this is a good thing. Before that, I took melatonin every night. Did that for several years until I read and understood that melatonin isn’t a drug; it’s a hormone, and it’s super dangerous for me to be messing with the hormonal system.

And I should back up because I haven’t always had sleep issues.

I’m not sure I’d say I have sleep issues currently.

However, as we get older, we sleep through the night less and less. We middle-aged men have to get up to pee 1-2 times every night, and when I became a runner a couple of years ago, I found that I was getting up 2-3 times a night, sometimes four! I had always attributed it to exercising during the evening, delivering trauma to my hips and pelvis by running along concrete and then sleeping with either actual or hidden pain. I had read some things that made me believe the trauma to that area could even trigger the sensation that I needed to urinate in the middle of the night.

With that, we’ve come full circle because I want to become an early-morning runner and yet I have a hard time with that when I stress out even the least little bit about it. At this point, that’s my last sleep hurdle. Most of my other sleep habits are pretty good.

Well, maybe except for constantly working on something or other. Unwinding wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Ha! Thank you for reading! If you’ve got some workout-in-the-morning tips for me, I’d love to hear them.

Hope you’ll come find me on YouTube at youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic or venture on over to Twitter @ryanwelton

%d bloggers like this: