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How Sleep Problems Happen During Daylight Savings

How Sleep Problems Happen During Daylight Savings

How Sleep Problems Happen During Daylight Savings

November 1, 2020, marks the end of Daylight Saving Time in Ohio. As the saying goes, in the autumn, the clock “falls behind.” This means that at 2:00 am, our clocks will be turned backward to 1:00 am. But what does this mean for our bodies?

Our internal clock doesn’t automatically sync to the time zone or the changes in the official time, like the clocks on our cellphones do. That’s why the end of daylight saving can throw your sleep schedule out of whack. And in a country where sleep deprivation is all too common, we don’t need one more hurdle to quality rest. Here are some things you can do to help yourself adjust this fall.

Do We Gain an Hour of Sleep?

Not really. A common myth about turning the clocks back in the fall is that we gain one hour of sleep. Instead, the time change disrupts our regular sleep-wake cycle for several days. Some people continue to wake up early, even before their alarm goes off, while others have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. On top of that, following this misconception, many people stay up late over the weekend before DST ends and lose that hour of rest that they might otherwise gain.

Prepare for Daylight Savings and Avoid Losing Sleep

Especially now, when so many people have an irregular schedule due to pandemic lockdown measures, routines are incredibly important to our physical and mental health. Don’t let the end of DST spell disaster for your sleep schedule. Here are six easy ways to prevent daylight savings sleep problems.

1. Follow the Sunlight

Sunlight has a strong impact on our natural circadian rhythm and the production of melatonin. As the days get shorter and daylight savings time ends, we have increasingly less time to enjoy the sunshine during the day. You can help your body maintain this rhythm by scheduling at least 30 minutes of time outdoors every day. Though the fall weather in Ohio may make this a challenge, it can go a long way to feeling and sleeping better.

2. Avoid Electronics

Using the same logic, you should try to avoid artificial light once the sun has gone down. Bright lights and the blue light emitted by the TV, computer and mobile phone can make it harder to sleep well once you lie down. Help your body prepare for bedtime by dimming the lights and limiting screen time in the late evening.

3. Get a Head Start

Don’t wait until November 1st. Before DST ends, begin gradually adjusting your bedtime about a week before the time changes. Head to bed 15, 30, and 45 minutes earlier in the days leading up to it.

On Saturday, October 31, set your clock one hour forward. Then, stick to your regular bedtime on Saturday and Sunday. This will help you feel more rested and ready to go on Monday morning.

4. Shift the Whole Schedule

Adjusting the timing of all the main activities in your day provides cues that keeps your schedule on track. Meals, showers, exercise, and time to unwind before bed are all important markers that help define the day-night rhythm.

Related article: 5 Tips to Get Your Sleep Schedule Back on Track.

5. Don’t Go Crazy with Coffee

We all love the fall flavors at Starbucks, but don’t go overboard. Just because the clocks have changed, it is important not to make the mistake of drinking excessive amounts of caffeine. Stick to your regular amount to avoid getting jittery and avoid caffeine after lunch because this can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

6. Stick to a Set Bedtime

One of the best sleep habits is keeping a regular routine. Going to bed at the same time and waking up around the same time every day, on weekdays and weekends, can greatly improve sleep quality.

Get more tips here: 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Fall Asleep Faster.

How to Get Enough Sleep During Daylight Savings

fall daylight saving and sleep

This infographic explains some of the effects of daylight savings time on body and how to prevent sleep problems when turning the clocks back in the fall.

Find Out Why You Aren’t Sleeping at Night

Seasonal changes and disrupted schedules can temporarily make it harder to get the rest you need at night. If you suspect that something else is causing more long-term disruption to your sleep schedule, you should consider clinical sleep testing. Contact Sleep Health Solutions in Ohio to start the process of diagnosing and treating any underlying sleep disorder.

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