For those of us who switched back to “standard” time from Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, the fact that it now gets dark at 5:30 is a difficult adjustment.
While perhaps not as difficult as switching to daylight saving time (springing forward), since we actually get an “extra” hour of sleep, falling back to standard time brings its own challenges.
It takes about three to four days to adjust. But to help the process along, here are some ways to ease yourself into the change:
The most notable challenge is the fact that daylight hours decrease and the sunset comes earlier. One way to adjust to this is to get as much sunlight as possible during the next few weeks. If you can do it in the morning, it will be even more effective. Morning light improves sleep because it helps to regulate our natural clocks or, our circadian clock and to reset them. Our internal clock lets us know when itís time to sleep, when to wake up and when itís time to eat.
Although increased time in the morning sun is ideal, getting more sunlight any time of day will help. If you are stuck inside an office without windows, use your lunch break, take an afternoon break, or try to make time before work to get outside and soak up the sun.
Coupled with light, getting some exercise outdoors during the day can boost your energy level, not to mention your mood. Taking a walk, even as little as 20-30 minutes, can help. But if you canít exercise in the sunshine, exercise when you can because exercise also helps to regulate both our mood and can make us more ready to sleep.
Speaking of sleep, make sure to use that hour we are getting back and sleep. Stay up until your “regular” bedtime and wake up at your regular time in the morning. It will help you become more alert and may even improve your mood.
Standard time means that sunrise is now an hour earlier so it might cause you to wake up an hour earlier. So, when sleeping, keep your bedroom as dark as possible to reduce the amount of light that will enter your room when the sun rises.
Lastly, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that you reduce or avoid consumption of alcohol and caffeine. These can make it more difficult for your body’s internal clock to adjust to the time change.