Are you ready for the time change? This Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00 am will mark the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) for most of us in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This is the time of year that our circadian clock becomes disrupted, similar to jet lag, as your body clocks adjust, resetting to a time one hour earlier than you’ve been used to since DST began in March.
Some people find this time change difficult, so KUTV 2News This Morning in Salt Lake City invited me in the studio earlier today to discuss some strategies for handling the “Fall Back” sleep transition with anchor Ron Bird. I’ve expanded on what we discussed below.
7 Tips for the Fall Sleep Transition
- Stop bad habits– These are things that we can control; smoking, drinking caffeine or alcohol, eating big meals, or doing intensive exercise too close to bed. Now is a great time to make better sleep hygiene choices.
- Unplug your devices– Stop staring at your television, computer, tablet, and smart phone at least one hour before bed. Light from these screens suppresses melatonin production, robbing you of vital Zzz’s.
- Prepare yourself– Start preparing early by trying to stay up later each night this week, starting at 15 minutes, working up to one hour leading up to the time change. By the time Sunday morning rolls around, your circadian clock should be set to the right rhythm.
- Change your clocks– Most people automatically set the clock back the night before the time change. In the fall, changing the clock the night before will give you an extra hour of sleep. Note, some who suffer from insomnia may be better to change the clock Sunday morning.
- Get some light– Fall and winter bring shorter and darker days which can lead to sleep problems and depression for many. Sunlight is needed to keep a healthy circadian rhythm, so get plenty of morning and afternoon light. If there is not enough natural light to keep you bright, consider a light box.
- Replace your mattress– Is your mattress old and tired? Chuck it… Improve sleep efficiency by sleeping on a non-toxic, medical grade mattress that provides pressure relief to reduce tossing and turning.
- Reset with sound– If you have trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep the right sounds can actually improve your brain rhythms for better sleep. Try neuroscience based music and sound created using information garnered helping NASA get astronauts to sleep in space where there is a new sunrise every 90 minutes they orbit the earth! This technology is available in a mobile app and clinical grade sleep system.
Sleep is precious, and over 70 million Americans aren’t getting enough of it. I hope those of you in the Northern Hemisphere find these Fall Sleep Tips helpful in getting your nightly 8 as you make the transition to these darker, colder days.
Curious as to why DST even exists? Check out this article from National Geographic.