This Sunday, November 2nd at 2:00 a.m. is the official end of daylight savings time as clocks are pushed back one hour. Many will utilize this extra hour to get some additional shut-eye, but be aware that the shift in time can affect both the body and mind since it can be disruptive to our sleep patterns.
To cope with the time change, here are some ways to prepare and manage the time shift, in addition to some tips for a better overall night’s sleep.
Tips to prepare for and cope with the time change:
- Avoid consuming caffeine after lunch, especially a few days before and after the change. Try not to nap during this time as well, since napping can decrease your ability to sleep at night.
- Get lots of light when you wake up. One of the best ways to adjust your internal clock after the end of daylight savings is to expose yourself to light first thing in the morning. It sends a signal to your brain that the night is over. Flipping the switch on a lamp will do the job, but getting a hit of sunshine is best.
- Schedule regular meal times. The old adage of breakfast being the most important meal of the day bears truth: It’s your body’s cue that the long fast is over. If you’ve been up all day but your first nosh isn’t until 2 p.m., your mind and body won’t be in full awake mode until then.
- Get plenty of rest. Even one hour of sleep deprivation has been associated with increases in the rate of heart attacks, recent research shows. Be sure to avoid stress and plan for a calm, relaxing weekend.
If you have difficulty sleeping, try these suggestions:
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule to help regulate the body’s sleep cycle. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time daily, even on weekends.
- Foods and drinks with caffeine, like hot chocolate, tea, coffee, soda, and chocolate can interfere with sleep and should be avoided after lunch.
- Start a bedtime routine that includes at least 15 to 30 minutes of calm, quiet, soothing activities such as reading.
- A dark, quiet, cool room is typically the best sleeping environment. Extreme temperatures, noise, and lights can make getting to sleep and staying asleep difficult. Use an eye mask and ear plugs if you need to.
- Limit time spent in front of the TV or computer close to bedtime, and do not have a TV or computer in the bedroom.
- Avoid any work right before bedtime. Studying or doing written work does not allow the mind to relax before falling asleep.
- Avoid strenuous exercise right before bedtime. While exercise earlier in the day is good, exercising close to bedtime may make it more difficult to go to sleep.
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