Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends on Sunday, November 7 this year as we go back to standard time. Setting back the clock and gaining an hour of sleep sound amazing, except a lot of people have difficulty adjusting to these changes. In fact, studies have shown they can do more harm than just wreck sleep schedules. DST changes can increase the risk for anxiety, mood disorders, depression, and even suicide.
The end of DST is generally easier on health and sleep than the spring change, but you may want to take extra precautions if you’re already sleep-deprived. Here are some tips:
Plan ahead. Always have trouble adjusting to DST changes? We suggest coming up with a game plan. A few days before November 7, adjust your bedtime 15-20 minutes to help your body slowly keep up with the new schedule. Instead of sleeping in, go to bed a little later than your usual time each night so you're all set come Sunday.
Consistency is key. An established routine signals our internal clock that it's time for sleep. So stick to your usual schedule, including diet, exercise, and bedtime. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, or stick close to your usual sleep schedule to help your body adjust faster to DST ending. Consistent bedtimes = better quality sleep all year long.
Complex carbs + lean protein. According to this study, lean protein and complex carbohydrates may help promote sleep, while too much sugar, fat, alcohol, and (you guessed it) caffeine can disrupt sleep. Avoid these sleep killers especially the week before DST ends. And if you must have a midnight snack, choose healthier options.
Turn off electronics. We know it's a tall order, but try to limit screen time an hour before bed. Electronic devices emit blue light that tricks the brain into thinking it's still daytime, making it difficult to sleep. Put away your phone, tablet, and laptop and turn off the TV and computer. Instead, spend this time on a calming pre-bedtime ritual, like taking a warm bath, drinking herbal tea, reading your favorite book, and doing some relaxing yoga.
Try meditation. Meditation and breathing exercises can lower your heart rate and help you wind down. Apps like Headspace and Calm have guides for beginners that walk you through the whole process, plus they have calming audiobooks and podcasts to put you to sleep.
Create fake light. Our internal clock automatically adjusts to DST changes in a week or two, but you can ease the transition and reduce negative effects on your sleep by faking light and dark. Try dimming the lights an hour before you go to bed, and set a bright lamp to turn on 30 minutes before you wake up in the morning.
Work out earlier in the day. Try to work out a few hours before bed, as exercise raises our core temperature and keeps us awake. Ideally, work out in bright, natural daylight to boost serotonin, a hormone that helps regulate our mood and sleep cycle. Exposure to bright light will nix the urge to nap during the day and help you fall asleep faster at night.
Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Keep your bedroom a place just for sleep and downtime. Think of a relaxing, comfortable, and cozy oasis where you recharge and renew.
- Use sleep aids like a sound machine, eye masks, and earplugs.
- Light some great-smelling candles or use a diffuser with a few drops of sleep-promoting oils like lavender.
- Invest in some quality bedding. A weighted blanket is perfect for fall when the nights are longer and colder; it's like wrapping yourself up in a warm hug.
- Choose the right pillow. The wrong pillow can make sleep super uncomfortable, causing you to wake up sore and tired. We suggest an adjustable pillow that contours to your body, no matter your preferred sleeping position.