Most of us get swept up in the crisp days, brilliant foliage, and pumpkin everything that fall brings to notice the gradual decrease in daylight hours early in the season. But before long, it’s time to turn back the clocks and bid farewell to daylight savings time until spring. After all, no one wants to lose an hour of precious evening daylight – especially during fall and winter when temperatures drop – not even in exchange for an extra hour of sleep on a Sunday morning.
Knowing that changing the time on the clock really does affect sleep cycle, and ultimately overall health, means we have the opportunity to prepare for coping with the end of daylight savings time to ease the transition.
Follow these tips for dealing with the end of daylight savings time so that your transition into days with fewer daylight hours is a smooth one.
- Get your routine down
A bedtime routine for adults may sound strange; however, it’s one of the best ways to establish good sleep hygiene. To set the stage for a good night’s sleep, try these ideas:
- Go to bed and get up at about the same time each day
- Try gentle stretching to relax your body (but avoid exercise right before bed)
- Include other routines: sipping a cup of warm caffeine-free tea, reading a book, meditating, or listening to soothing music
- Chill out before bedtime
When it’s time for bed, remember to unplug, keep quiet, and chill out.
- Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light and content from these devices can cause excitement and stimulation that prevents you from getting to sleep.
- Use earplugs or a white noise machine to maintain a peaceful, quiet sleep environment
- Keep your bedroom temperature comfortably cool. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 68°F. That’s because body temperature naturally drops during sleep. Keeping your sleeping environment cool helps facilitate the process, which makes it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep. Temperature preference differs for everyone, so adjust your bedroom temperature to one that is comfortable for you.
- Snack smart at night
Avoid alcohol and refined, simple carbohydrates close to bedtime. Alcohol interrupts circadian function and interferes with our ability to get quality sleep. Highly processed carbs are low on nutrition and can cause blood sugar to spike. When you need a little something to hold you over until morning, try one of these late night snack ideas:
- Kiwi fruit with almonds
- Blueberries and walnuts
- Caveman Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Nutrition Bar Minis
- Unsweetened nut or seed butter
- Caveman Maple Pork Meat Stick
- Get a daily dose of sunlight and exercise.
Even if it’s cold out, it does the body good to bundle up and get outdoors into natural light. A brisk walk early in the day revs up metabolism and gets your blood flowing. Sunlight nourishes you by aiding vitamin D production and elevates levels of mood-boosting serotonin in the brain.
- Stay on the dark side at night.
Turn off the light when it’s time to go to sleep. If you do get up for a drink of water or to go to the bathroom, use as little light as is safely possible so that your sleep is minimally disrupted. Sleep in a dark, quiet room. Consider blackout shades or an eye mask if your room is near a street light or other light source that you’re unable to block.
- Give your body time to adjust.
Remember, it can take a week (sometimes two) for the body to fully adjust to the time change. Give yourself time to adapt to fewer daylight hours as you implement these helpful tips, which will make the transition much easier.