A little nighttime reading

Daylight Savings is ending - here’s how to deal with the time change

It’s time for us to “fall back” and reset our clocks as we end Daylight Saving Time (DST). The good news is we gain a delightful hour of sleep. But we also deal with the disruption to our circadian rhythms (ie: internal body clock), which can impact our sleep cycle for up to a week, despite that extra hour.

Because your body clock is impacted by your environment, you can do a few things to help you and your family adjust to the new cycle:

Plan ahead: Start adjusting to the time change before Sunday arrives so the change is not so abrupt during the workweek. Reset one of the main clocks in your home on Friday night, and abide by that clock for key moments in your schedule -- like for meals and sleep/wake times.

Schedule your sleep: Be cognizant of your body’s signals for fatigue. Even if you’re tired next week, try to stay up and go to sleep at your “normal” bedtime, as you may be tempted to hit the hay on the earlier side. Try reading an interesting book or doing a wind-down activity (like adult coloring or meditation) the week after DST ends to motivate you to stay awake.  

Adjust light exposure: Light is one of the most influential factors affecting your body clock. After the autumn time change, make sure that your body is exposed to light in the early evening, even though it’ll get dark sooner. Also use blackout curtains or an eye mask to keep from being awoken too early by brighter morning light.

Get outside: Spending time in a park, woods or even a backyard can ground you to the Earth's therapeutic energy and ease the transition. Sunlight plays a key role in resetting our body clocks, and connecting with nature is particularly soothing when your body experiences this type of disruption to its natural rhythms.

Exercise: Make sure to work out, especially outside, as exercise releases serotonin, which is a brain chemical that helps our bodies adjust.

By employing these strategies, you can minimize any disruption the time change may bring during this time of year.