Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States and some other countries on November 5, 2017. We all know the mantra to help us remember what to do with our clocks for the time change: Spring Forward, Fall Back. Springing forward is the hard one, as you’re losing an hour of sleep and most of us don’t get enough sleep already. However, any change in your body clock can have an impact in your well being, even one where you gain an hour, like you will when we reverse time by one hour to “fall back”. Here are some SleepBetter tips to make the transition to standard time more gracefully, some of which you should start soon…
Start preparing early: While staying up later than you feel like you should isn’t a problem for most people, some find it difficult. If you’re one of these people, try starting early by staying up a little later each night leading up to the time change.
Consider when to change your clocks: It’s automatic for most people on the night before the time change to set their clocks back. In the spring, that is not a good plan for most people because they will lose one hour of sleep. In the fall, if you change the clock the night before, then you will gain an hour of sleep, which is good for many, but not all, people. Simply put, if you make no changes in the clock until the next morning, both in the fall and the spring, then you will get the amount of sleep you normally do, assuming a regular sleep and wake time is kept.
Avoid exercise, caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime: All three of these can disrupt your ability to sleep well and it’s always a good idea to avoid them near bedtime. A cup of coffee on Sunday or Monday morning isn’t a bad thing, though, and may help you get going on days when you might feel a little “off” due to the time change.
Prepare your kids
Some kids have a very difficult time adjusting, particularly the young ones who are still napping. Starting a few days before the time change, try to push their naps a little later each day to eventually line them up to where they will be after the time change.
But, what do you do if you didn’t plan ahead, and you’re reading this on the Sunday or Monday after the time change? If you’re feeling a little “off” and inexplicably tired, a little caffeine won’t hurt.
Another good idea after the time change is to make sure you get plenty of sunlight during the day. The fall time change marks the beginning of shorter and darker days. Since sunlight is needed to keep your circadian rhythms on track, the fall and winter months can lead to sleeping difficulties and depression for many. To combat this, be sure to get plenty of light in the morning and throughout the day. Natural sunlight is best, but if the days are cloudy or you’re up before the sun, turn on plenty of lights in the house and consider getting a light box.
In the end, don’t be surprised if you’re not quite feeling yourself for a couple of days. Take it easy and you’ll adjust quickly.