Daylight Savings Returns in November
Daylight savings makes a return on the first weekend of November. We wake up and fall back, gaining the hour we sprung forward this past spring. Despite getting an extra hour added back onto Sunday the 4th, most people don’t tend to benefit from an extra hour of sleep.
A review in Sleep Medicine by Dr. Yvonne Harrison shows the opposite: for many people, the one hour change often results in sleep fragmentation and sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep). Furthermore, this disruption in sleeping patterns can take up to a week for people to readjust, and the lack of sleep can affect people’s moods, performance at work, and even the ability to drive safely.
Taking some additional measures around daylight savings can reduce these potential negative impacts. Here are some ideas for self-care to help you sleep:
Optimize Your Sleep Space
A comfortable and relaxing environment is conducive to restful sleep. According to Tide, 70% of what you wash away on your sheets is invisible. Change your bedding regularly to clear dead skin cells, body oils, dust mites, and other allergens that could reduce the quality of your sleep.
Having a dark, quiet room helps most people sleep. Turn away electronics or cover their surfaces so you’re not distracted before bed. Consider black-out curtains and a white noise machine if you’re in a busy city like New York or Seattle.
Do Something Active Each Day
Having physical activity during the day can help you feel more relaxed and ready for bed in the evening. Stanford Medicine researchers conducted a study on how exercise affects sleep patterns for people who are not physically active and have insomnia
. The study found that participants who exercised 20-30 minutes every other day were able to fall asleep 50% faster and sleep almost an hour longer.
Most people benefit from exercise earlier in the day; either first thing in the morning to help wake up or mid-morning after the body fully wakes up. A strenuous workout right before bed is not recommended, as that can keep you awake longer. Yoga
can be an excellent addition to your workout routine as it helps to stretch and strengthen muscles that are overused at work.
Get Offline Before Bedtime
Have you noticed your eyes getting tired if you have to stare at a computer screen later in the day? Device screens are designed to be bright like the sun. Exposure to blue light from your laptop, cell phone, or tablet can prevent you from falling asleep, so it’s best to shut off electronics a couple of hours before you go to sleep.
Software such as f.lux
adjusts your device screens to show warmer colors later in the evening, helping reduce eyestrain and sleep disruption from blue light. A newer laptop or phone may also have an option for this built in already.
These sleep tips are also helpful to keep in mind throughout the year, especially if you need to travel across time zones for work or work shift jobs as a nurse or firefighter. By making a few small changes to your daily habits, you can get better sleep despite daylight savings.