Fall Back Without Falling Over

Yup, it’s about that time again. The end of daylight saving is nigh. For many the extra hour of sleep as welcomed, but for most any change to routine, especially our sleep routine, can have a number of undesirable downstream effects. To that end, Holly Burns as the New York Times wellness blog has compiled a list of things to consider as we prepare for this year’s tradition. Some of this tips are below, you can read the full article at NYTimes.com.

  • Try shifting your bedtime 30 minutes later a few days in advance, so that by Sunday, the time on the clock is closer to the time your body feels it is, said Jennifer Martin, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and president of the board of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That means, though, that you should also be sleeping 30 minutes later in the mornings, which isn’t feasible for everyone.
  • Extra time in bed sounds glorious to some, but it can be hard if you struggle with insomnia, said Dr. Martin, because “the night basically just got an hour longer.” In that case, focus on keeping the time you spend in bed the same, rather than the time you fall asleep. So if you usually spend eight hours in bed — say, between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. — go to bed an hour later on Saturday night, which may reduce your chances of lying awake during the night.
  • Move your workout. It can be demoralizing to find that the pleasant afternoon stroll you’ve been accustomed to is now a gloomy trudge through the dark. Shifting your walk, run or bike ride to the morning means you’ll get a dose of direct morning light, which is important for regulating sleeping and waking habits. Your cortisol spikes, giving you energy, and your brain stops producing the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Eat with care. Aim to stick to your normal mealtimes once the clocks change — so if you were eating dinner at 6:30 p.m., keep eating at 6:30 p.m., said Hayley Wilkes, an integrative nutritionist in Chicago who works with clients to navigate potential disruptions to their eating habits. Prepare the week before by gradually shifting mealtimes forward 15 minutes, so your body gets used to eating a little later.
  • Seek creative activities. In the days after we put the clocks back, it’s natural to feel sad that summer is over or frustrated that some activities aren’t an option anymore, Dr. Hill said. A Danish study of more than 185,000 people over 17 years found that the transition to standard time was associated with an 11 percent increase in depressive episodes. As it gets colder and darker, it may be tempting to indulge in nothing more mentally taxing than a Netflix binge, but sedentary behavior and media consumption are strongly associated with decreased life satisfaction and increased depression, said Dr. Hill. Instead, try to focus on “activities where you create rather than consume.”