5 Ways to Minimize the Effects of Time Change
While many people look forward to “falling back” when Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 4, the reality is that not everyone get the benefit of that extra hour of sleep. And during the first week after the time change, many people have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Others wake up earlier because their internal clock has not made the transition. This disruption in sleep schedule can lead to drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, depression, cluster headaches, seasonal affective disorder and an increased risk for accidents.
But there are things you can do to make the transition easier.
Adjust your schedule in the days leading up to the time change. Staying up 20 to 30 minutes past your usual bedtime for several days before (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) can help you stick to your regular sleep schedule in the weeks ahead.
Just say no. Limiting your intake of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine may help you sleep better and avoid the headaches, fatigue, irritability and drowsiness that are common side effects of time change.
Soak up the sun! Make a point to catch as many rays as you can during the day, but for the first couple of days on standard time it should not be too early in the day. Early morning sun exposure tends to makes us want to go to bed earlier that night and you are actually trying to delay your sleep during these first few days. Getting outside later in the day will help, so It’s a great excuse to eat lunch outside or take a 20-minute walk in the afternoon. Side effects may include a great mood, increased energy levels and improved concentration.
Move those feet. Exercise releases serotonin in your brain, which helps your body adjust to the time change. So instead of being a couch potato after you get home from work, try turning up the music and having an impromptu dance party! Or you can incorporate a brisk walk into your evening schedule.
Skip the nap. You may feel tired or groggy, but resist the urge to nap. Instead, drink a glass of water, take a quick walk or eat a healthy snack to help you feel more energized.
About the Author
Jim Osborne, MD is the Senior Medical Director for Population Health, THN, Sleep Specialist for Eagle Sleep Medicine and Interpreting provider for the Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center.