March News Brief

Greetings Further Shore friends,

According to Time and Date, most of the U.S. will be “springing forward” into Daylight Saving Time (DST) on March 12, 2023 (Arizona and Hawaii are the exceptions). I am personally glad that we don’t spring forward in AZ as I always found the change to be disorienting and annoying. The federal Sunshine Protection Act (to end clock changes in favor of permanent Daylight-Saving Time) was passed in the Senate in 2022 but was stalled in the House. This means clock changes will continue in 2023 with the spring forward in March and the “falling back” in November. Interesting note: various studies report an increase in fatal traffic accidents, workplace injuries, and myocardial events in the weeks following the spring clock change. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) supports ending clock changes, but favors permanent Standard Time because it aligns best with our human circadian rhythms. The AASM provides a DST position paper describing its health impacts in detail. If you have trouble adjusting to life after springing forward, the AASM also offers some tips to help you adjust.

Our driveway on 3/2/23 – Winter Storm “Quest”

As for our canine news, Olivia’s knee and Teddy’s eye tag surgeries have been bumped out indefinitely because, yes, it is still snowing in northern Arizona, and we just don’t think their recovery will be easy with the mountains of snow all around us. The latest blizzard brought almost 3 feet in 36 hours, piled on top of the many feet already present. All this snow will hopefully support forest health and lower wildfire danger come spring, but it has certainly made a hibernation situation for many of us. My strategies to beat cabin fever:  writing, reading, baking, and making soup. Who knew that March 3rd is National Soup it Forward Day in Canada and the USA? Been there, done that during February; will continue to do it in March. Spending time in the kitchen is meditative and sharing soup with others brings a little TLC and warmth to friends on chilly days. I have a feeling the soup days are going to continue well into spring this year for some of us. If you have a favorite soup, think about making an extra batch to soup it forward!

Now for the News:

  • This Month’s Special Day:   March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, a day that for some, can start out with an Irish coffee, and end with green beer. This year, St. Paddy’s day shares the stage with World Sleep Day. It is celebrated on the Friday preceding the vernal equinox (March 20th)  and is a call to action for issues relating to sleep including medicine, education, social aspects, and driving. The World Sleep Society is a nonprofit organization comprised of sleep medicine and research professionals serving patients with sleep challenges. They believe that sleep is essential to well-being. Given the “springing forward” challenges mentioned above, and the possible libations of St. Paddy’s Day, you may want to brush up on your own sleep habits by reading what the experts have to say about insomnia, micro-sleep, REM, apnea, the effect of alcohol and caffeine on sleep patterns, and more. While we are on the topic of sleep, an extra special day this month is March 11th, National Dream Day, established in 1995 by Dr. Robert Muller. On March 11th, allow yourself to dream big!
  • On the Blog:  “T” is for Testing is almost ready to read as part of the ABC’s of Living Well. You can view this and all past newsletters here.
  • Sleep Hygiene Tips:
    • Be consistent.  Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to set up your own perfect circadian rhythms. Establish a regular bedtime routine to cue your body and mind that it is time for sleep. Routines may include environmental actions such as turning out lights, checking the thermostat, or locking doors; devotional activities (reading an inspirational passage, meditation, prayer, affirmations); personal care activities (bath or shower, brushing teeth, facial care, brushing hair); or bidding goodnight with gestures, words, or songs to partners, children, or companion animals.
    • Bedroom ambiance. Set the stage for better sleep by creating a relaxed, uncluttered environment. Consider using Feng Shui to create a calm, positive atmosphere. The right mattress and a pillow that is just right for you will go a long way toward a good night’s sleep. Bedding is a matter of taste, utility, and comfort. Choose from brushed cotton, flannel, or silk sheets; weighted blankets, throws or comforters. Whatever you choose should be conducive to your thermal and tactile preferences. The bedroom should be dark and cool for optimal sleep. Put the dirty clothes in a laundry basket outside of the bedroom. Use palo santo or sage to clear the air and energy from time to time. Bring in fresh flowers or artwork that is pleasing and calming. Keep noise levels low; add white noise (fan, humidifier, or other) if it is too noisy or too quiet.
    • Drink wisely. Avoid drinking coffee, hot chocolate, caffeinated sodas or teas in the afternoon or evening. Alcohol in any form has a link to insomnia and takes four to five hours to metabolize out of the system, so drinking it right before bed is not recommended. Try to finish alcoholic drinks at least 4 hours before it’s time to sleep. Non-alcoholic wines, beers, and mocktails are becoming increasingly popular substitutes for alcoholic beverages for those who are trying to drink less and sleep better. Herbal teas can be both soothing and medicinal. For those who drink dairy, warm milk can be relaxing and sleep supportive at bedtime. For the lactose intolerant, soy milk and certain nut milks (warm or cold) have a similar effect due to their tryptophan content.
    • Dine earlier. It is not recommended to eat a large or heavy meal right before bedtime. Having dinner at least two to three hours before bed is optimal. If you get hungry at bedtime, have a light snack of easy to digest food and avoid chocolate, caffeinated sodas, fried foods, and foods that are acidic. Try a hot chamomile or lavender tea with milk of your choice instead of bedtime snacking. Healthline recommends several late-night snacks that might appeal. Some of the all-stars include kiwi, pistachios, and tart cherry juice.
    • Wind Down. Establish a relaxing evening routine to wind down from your day. If you work from home, watch that tendency to slip into the office right before bed. It may feel advantageous to get some work done without the interruptions that regularly happen during office hours. But revving up your work-brain before bed does not lend to a good night’s sleep. Listen to music, do yoga, have a warm bath, meditate, read, or just chill before you retire for the night. Hard core sleep hygiene professionals say that the bed is meant for sleep and sex only. They suggest that you do not head to bed until you are feeling sleepy, and that you do not read or watch television in bed. If you must read in bed, it is best to read a book and not on an electronic device.
  • Pandemic tidbit:  The Bateman Horne Center (Utah) has discovered a link between Myalgia Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM) and Long Covid. They offer free virtual support groups on the second and third Tuesday of each month for those suffering from the symptoms of these and other chronic illnesses. The University of Melbourne has provided an article about Post Covid-19 Neurological Syndrome (PCNS) entitled What We Now Know About Long Covid and Our Brains. Please respect and protect the medically vulnerable as flu and cold season is still underway.
  • Movies that Move Us:  When Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams) dies in a tragic accident, he finds himself in heaven where he learns that his grieving wife, Annie (Annabella Sciorra), has died by suicide and is trapped in an endless afterlife loop of despair. Follow along as Chris embarks on a journey to reunite with her. The 1999 Oscar Winner for Best Visual Effects, What Dreams May Come (1998, PG13) is the epic tale about love, grief, dreams, and possibilities. It has been described as emotionally riveting, breathtaking, amazing, and heartbreakingly healing.
  • Quote of the Month:  “To die, to sleep – To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, For in this sleep of death what dreams may come. ~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet

May all beings be safe, well, happy, and content.

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