Fall Back: 6 Tips to Prepare for Time Change
It’s that time of year again when much of the country will "fall back" an hour, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time. This weekend, the so-called “time change” starts this Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 2:00 am, which is when many Americans will turn the clock back one hour.
While some people quickly adjust to the time change, others struggle with feeling out of sorts as their bodies try to adjust to the shift in time. However, gaining an hour with the fall time change is generally easier than losing an hour in the spring. Indeed, recent research found that heart attacks increase when the time changes in the spring, whereas they decrease during the fall time change.
By the same token, it gets darker earlier when the time changes in the fall – and combined with colder temperatures, the shorter days can actually seem to drag on forever. This can lead those prone to depression to suffer what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a form of depression that typically occurs only during the fall and winter, but lifts in the spring.
The good news is there are some time-tested tips to help smooth the transition and help your body adjust to the fall time change this weekend – and now is the time to start, before the change occurs, and before you set your clock back an hour before bedtime on Saturday night.
1. Start now. As mentioned above, the time change occurs at 2 am on Sunday morning, so give yourself a few days to prepare ahead of time by resetting your clock an hour earlier on Friday morning, and try to adjust your mealtimes and the time you go to bed an hour earlier too. This should give you enough time to adjust by the start of the following workweek (when the time change will have already occurred)
2. Exercise. Exercising, preferably early in the day, releases the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, helping our bodies advance the clock and adapt to the time change. Try taking a brisk morning walk, but avoid doing so in the evening because it could disrupt sleep.
3. Melatonin. If you do find it harder to get to sleep, try taking a low dose melatonin supplement, which helps regulate the sleep cycle. to boost melatonin levels, as melatonin regulates cycles of sleep and wakefulness. You can find plant based melatonin anywhere and its perfectly safe and natural.
4. No naps. It’s best to avoid taking naps, especially long ones, so if you’re feeling tired, try taking a brisk walk instead. But if you must nap, do it earlier in the day, and keep it brief (no longer than 20 minutes).
5. Adjust lighting. Adjusting the amount of light and dark in your surroundings can help streamline your body's circadian rhythm, making the transition to a change in time easier. It’s as simple as opening the blinds in the house as soon as you get up in the morning, and then dimming the lights in the evening to help your body relax and know the time is coming for sleep.
6. Eat pasta. For dinner, try having a plate of pasta or some other complex carbohydrate-rich meal, as such foods are known to stimulate the production of serotonin, which can help you relax and sleep soundly.
Reference: WebMD, How Sleep is Affected by Time Changes.