Daylight Savings: Adjust Your Clock and Sleep Schedule - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on October 21, 2015

Daylight Savings: Adjust Your Clock and Sleep Schedule

On Sunday, November 1 at 2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time will end.

If you find yourself experiencing a decrease in
energy levels and sleep disturbances with
the clock change, here’s what you can do
to get back on track.

On Sunday, November 1 at 2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time will end. That means you get to turn your clock back one hour and delight in the extra hour of sleep you’ll be gaining.

While some people relish in the extra hour of beauty rest, others may find the clock change significantly affects their internal clock and struggle to maintain a normal sleep-wake routine. People sensitive to the changing of the clocks may experience variations in their sleep patterns and energy levels.

Daylight Saving Time was instituted to capitalize on natural light, but it does impact your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your internal body clock and it regulates your body’s24-hour cycle of biological processes. Patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities are all linked to this cycle.

Your circadian rhythm also plays an important role in your sleep patterns, using exposure to light and darkness as a trigger to start and stop production of melatonin – the sleep-inducing hormone.

If you find yourself experiencing a decrease in energy levels and sleep disturbances with the clock change, here’s what you can do to get back on track.

Exercise

Making exercise part of your daily routine can increase your energy level and boost your mood. Studies have shown that regular exercise triggers your body to release endorphins and serotonin. Also, a regular dose of physical activity is credited with more and better quality sleep at night.

Increase Your Vitamin D

Natural sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which your body needs to absorb calcium. However, you may not be exposed to as much natural daylight in the fall and winter. Vitamin D is believed to regulate mood – low levels of this vitamin have been associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and major depression. In the fall and winter, keep your vitamin D levels up by getting outside into the sun and turn to vitamin D supplements.

Cut the Caffeine

Don’t freak out – you can still have your morning cup of Joe. But just be mindful of what time you’re drinking your caffeinated beverage. Drinking coffee and an energy drinks in the afternoon may inhibit your ability to fall asleep at night. If you are feeling groggy in the afternoon, try going for a brisk walk outside instead of reaching for a cup of coffee – exercise, sunlight and fresh air have all been credited with energizing you as much as a caffeinated beverage.

Turn Off Your Electronics

Again, don’t freak out – you don’t have to completely give up your smartphone and devices. But you should put them away in the evening for a better night’s sleep. These devices give off light, which can inhibit your body’s production of melatonin. Instead, try reading, writing in a journal or meditating before bedtime to relax and calm your mind.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to what steps you take to create a sleep-friendly environment for yourself in order to enhance your chance of falling asleep, stay asleep and sleep more soundly. Basic steps you can take include reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol several hours before bed, refraining from exercising too close to bedtime, setting your bedroom temperature a bit cooler, and creating rituals to calm and relax yourself before bed such as a hot bath.

An important part of your sleep hygiene is going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This trains your body to produce melatonin to help you fall asleep at your bedtime and to stop production when it’s time to rise and shine. You should even keep these bedtime and wake times the same of the weekends, only varying by an hour or so.

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