It’s coming on November 6th at 2am! We will all “FALL BACK” and have to adjust to Daylight Saving Time!
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight. The United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.
Nearly everyone looks forward to “falling back” and claiming that extra hour of sleep in autumn. But taking advantage of that extra rest and keeping the benefit can be tough. Time changes in the fall and spring inevitably alter people’s schedules. It can take the body up to a week or more to adjust. Until then, falling asleep and waking up later can be harder. If you are getting seven to eight hours of sound sleep and go to bed a little early the night before, you may wake up feeling refreshed. If you are sleep-deprived already, getting by on six hours, you're probably in a bit of trouble, especially if you consume alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime. In this situation, you may well experience the decrements of performance, concentration, and memory common to sleep-deprived individuals, as well as daytime sleepiness. It’s just an hour, but it’s asking sleep deprived people to alter their circadian clock! In some cases, the time shift can be dangerous. If your sleep cycle is out of whack, driving can be a bad idea. One study showed fatal traffic accidents increase the Monday after both time changes.
Why is the change of one hour so hard? In the fall, when you’ve gained an hour of sleep, you might not feel tired, but you may get cranky when you have to wait an extra hour before your lunch break or when it feels like work should have ended an hour ago. It may be harder to stay up an hour later and wake up an hour later when your body and internal clock is used to a different schedule and can affect your quality of sleep when a different schedule is forced upon it. When the clocks move forward in the spring, you'll be robbed of an hour of sleep. That night, you may not be able to fall into your normal sleep rhythms an hour earlier than you’re used to, and you won’t get as much quality sleep as you need.
For your health and safety, here are some tips for dealing with the time change:
1. Make gradual shifts
Roughly ten days before falling back, go to bed and wake up 10 minutes to 15 minutes later each day. This helps your body slowly adjust. For kids, when daylight saving time ends in the fall, this gradual approach can still help -- follow the same guidelines -- just push the wake up time and bedtime a little later rather than earlier each day as you would do in the spring.
2. Keep your schedule
Try to manage your schedule accordingly. In autumn, keep things as close to normal as possible. If you usually wake at 8 a.m., do it the morning of the time change, if you can (although the clock says 9 a.m.). Be consistent with eating, social, bed and exercise times, too. Raising your body’s core temperature can make it harder to fall asleep, so avoid heavy workouts within four hours of bedtime.
3. Have a nighttime ritual
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. You don’t need to do things in a certain order, but you should make a habit of slowing your body down. Dim your lights. Take a warm – not hot – shower. Put your phone, computer or tablet away. Turn off the television and pick up a non-suspenseful book. When daylight saving ends, it's especially important to stick with a bedtime routine, as your child is now dealing with a change in schedule that might throw him off. For young children, it's absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime.That's what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. One option: giving your child one a warm bath, reading him a book, and snuggling together before lights out. Also, avoid screen time close to bedtime. Electronics’ high-intensity light hinders melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. It stimulates your brain and makes sleep difficult the same way sunlight does.
4. No long naps
Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. But it could backfire! Longer daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep. The drive to sleep increases throughout the day. If you nap, the sleep pressure decreases and makes it harder to fall asleep at night. Instead, step into the sun to stimulate your body and help retrain your inner clock.
- 5. Use light to regulate your internal clock.
- Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. So it is important to expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible, and conversely, do not expose yourself to bright light when it is dark outside.
- For example, if you get up at night to go to the bathroom, do not turn on the light. Prepare beforehand by installing a night light. Interestingly, specifically timed light therapy may either advance or delay your sleep cycle, depending on when it is delivered. For kids, when daylight saving time ends, the key is making sure your child doesn't go to bed too early or wake up earlier than she already does (what parent wants that?). So when you "fall back," make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening and ensure that her room isn't too bright in the morning.
Remember, the closer you stick to your normal routine, the faster your body will adjust to the clock!