daytime tips

How do I get myself to go to sleep when time changes Nov 4th?

On Nov 1, as we know time is changing and we will add an hour at 2.00 AM – so essentially all of us have the opportunity to get an extra hour of sleep on this night. But some people can have difficulty adjusting to this, if you are one of them you should start preparing for time change from a few days in advance to reset your body’s sleep & wake clock.

We recommend that you start adjusting your sleep time by 15-20 min 5-6 days prior to time change. So go to bed 15 min later each day and wake up about 15 min earlier from about 5-6 days prior to time change to adjust to the hour being gained.

After time change has happened, if you are still having difficulty- you can try using low dose melatonin an hour or so before your actual bedtime to adjust your sleep wake cycle for 3-5 days if needed. This is essentially a similar principle used in adjusting to jetlag.

Does light exposure help?

Expose your self to sunlight as soon as you wake up, so stand in front of a window or door or go outside and this will activate feedback mechanisms in your brain that tell it to “wake up” and help your body to adjust to the new sleep schedule.

If there is no sunshine then expose yourself to bright lights, this will have a similar effect. A light box or desk lamp can also reset your circadian rhythms. Bright light therapy is also helpful in minimizing seasonal affective disorder.

What are some common mistakes?

People try to stay up too late – thinking they are getting an extra hour to sleep the next day. We recommend against this, just adjust by 15 min and start a few days ahead.

What should you watch out for if you use a CPAP or other timed devices?

Your devices may show an error and may need to be reset, turn them off and restart, this should correct the error but if you still have difficulty call your equipment provider.

Other general sleep tips

These tips should be followed during time change as well as on a regular basis. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime or consuming caffeine in the afternoon or later. If you feel yourself getting tired midday, try taking a brief 15-20 minute nap. However, lengthy or late naps can throw your sleep timing off. We recommend that you avoid longer naps. Keep your dinner about 3 hours away from bedtime and exercise 3 hours away from bedtime as well.

What happens if I do nothing to adjust to the time change

For most people the fall time change is easier to adjust to than the spring time change, as we are a sleep deprived society and gaining an hour is easier than losing, and so if you do nothing, you may just fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier for several days and your body rhythm will adjust in 5-6 days usually. If you work a day shift it is less likely to impact you, but if you have other shift work it will likely affect you more. Keep a lighter schedule if you are able the day of time change, if you are tired or get sleepy, do not drive.