Daylight Saving Time and Sleep

Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November. While many eagerly anticipate the clocks “falling back” one hour, and gaining some extra sleep in the mornings, daylight saving time can negatively affect your sleep cycle. The change in time might actually cause you to get less sleep than usual if you’re not prepared.

Here are a few tips to help you adjust to the end of daylight saving time.

Make a sleep resolution

You don’t have to wait for a new year or your birthday to make a healthy change. Take the end of daylight saving time as an opportunity to commit to sleeping more. Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

Go to bed at the same time

Let’s say you normally get ready for bed around 9 p.m. When daylight saving time ends, 9 p.m. feels like 8 p.m., and you might not feel ready for bed. Make a point to stick to your regular bedtime, even if it takes a while to adjust.

Some taper their bedtimes by 10 minutes each night in the week leading up to the end of daylight saving time to make the transition smoother.

Wake up at the same time

Consistency is key in maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. In addition to going to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time, too. This is typically easier when daylight saving time ends than when daylight saving time begins again.

Avoid screens before bed

If you find it difficult to go to bed – what seems like – an hour earlier than usual, avoid reaching for your phone on turning on the television. Screens may be stimulating, and the light may make it difficult for some to fall asleep. One study found that exposure to light from electronic devices decreased normal nighttime melatonin levels. Try something more relaxing, instead.

Relax before bed

Get in the habit of doing something soothing and relaxing before bedtime. Take a bath, read, listen to music, or color. Give your mind and your body a chance to settle down, unwind, and get ready for rest.

Limit caffeine

Drinking too much caffeine, especially late in the day, can make it difficult to get a good night of restful sleep. Make a point to drink less caffeine and avoid that afternoon cup of Joe.

Stay active

Sedentary lifestyles take a toll on your health. Stay moving and exercise every day. Regular physical activity provides lots of health benefits and can also help improve sleep habits.

Some people find it difficult to fall asleep if they exercise too close to bedtime. Give your body time to relax and finish physical activity a couple of hours before going to sleep.

Stop eating at dinner

Sleep better through the night by finishing all food and drink at least 2 hours before you go to bed.

Consider a sleep study

Maybe you have problems sleeping regardless of whether daylight saving time is ending or beginning. Sleep disorders can make it difficult for people to get the sleep that they need, and can have a negative effect on a person’s health. If you have difficulties sleeping, consider consulting with a sleep medicine physician. Contact a MANA physician for informtaion regarding sleep study in Northwest Arkansas.