What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of falling back? Chances are it’s the bonus hour of sleep.
But the annual clock-reversal isn’t so simple for everyone. In fact, you may not even realize the effects it’s having on your sleep health. Research shows you wake up earlier and have a harder time falling asleep for several days after the change. All that restlessness leads to sleep loss (not to mention crankiness). But with knowledge comes power—and the ability to prepare. Below are five tips to help you fight the fall-back funk.
Going back an hour means the sun shows up earlier than usual. Very-early risers may appreciate the chance to squeeze in some extra daylight activities. But for most of us, light peeking through the window is a sure sleep stealer. Plan ahead by drawing your blinds before bed or installing black-out curtains. The goal is to ensure total darkness in the room until you’re ready to rise (or at least until your alarm clock buzzes). If installing curtains isn’t an option, try a sleep mask as an alternative.
To prepare even more, set your clocks back sooner in the day on Saturday to give your body a head start on the transition.
Stick to the Script
It’s tempting to indulge that extra hour of sleep on Saturday night (or maybe even stay up an hour later thinking you’ll get it back). But even a slight change to your sleep schedule can throw off your internal clock and cause grogginess. Do your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time you would have before the switch. (If your regular wake time is 7 AM, set your alarm for 6 to make up for the hour jump.)
Source: ABC News
Reset Your Internal Clock
Experts recommend getting 15-20 minutes of sun each morning to reset your body’s internal clock. Exposure to natural light early in the day will help keep you awake and ease your transition to sleep at night. Shorter days also mean less light, which can lead to seasonal sadness for some, so be sure to stock up on sun when you have the chance.
Get Moving Later
An earlier sunset means your body starts producing melatonin earlier in the day. Don’t be surprised if you start feeling sleepy on your homeward commute. To offset the shorter days, try hitting the gym an hour later than usual. Exercise delays the sleep cycle, so working out later in the day can help you stay awake longer and resist an ill-advised nap too soon before your bedtime.
It’s normal for the workday to feel longer after daylight savings time hits. Your internal clock says 5 PM, but the computer screen still says 4. To combat feelings of fatigue, be sure to take breaks throughout the day to stretch, take a quick walk, have a snack or do some deep breathing. Taking mini breaks during the day will offset sleepiness and keep you on track. Be sure to eat well for breakfast and lunch (protein, fiber, healthy fats) and drink plenty of water to maintain your energy throughout the day.