Updated: Nov 2
With the changing of the seasons comes the inevitable time change, where we set our clocks back an hour on November 5, 2023.
Adjusting to this shift can sometimes throw off our internal clocks. If you’re used to waking up at 7 am, you might find yourself awake too early, as it will be 6 a.m. when your body thinks it 7 and time to wake up! While gaining an extra hour of sleep might sound like a nice dream, for some, it can just mean an extra hour of insomnia. 🕐 😳
Below are some tips and strategies for adjusting to the November 5th, 2023 time change.
Let’s have a look at some simple strategies to help you smoothly transition into the new time change and make the most of your extra hour.
1. Gradual Adjustment: If you're concerned, you can minimize the disruption to your internal clock by making gradual adjustments in the days leading up to November 5th. Start a few days in advance by going to bed and waking up 15 minutes later each day, so by the time November 5 rolls around, your body will have already fully or partly adapted to the new schedule. You might initially find it easier to fall asleep at your new bedtime than stay asleep until your new wake time. But remember, a short night sleep one night can help you be sleepier the next, as long as you’re patient and just ride it out.
2. Maintain a consistent sleep routine: Consistency is key when it comes to regulating your sleep patterns. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your body establish a naturally strong circadian rhythm, making it easier to adjust to the time change.
3. Optimize your sleep environment: It may not be enough on its own, but keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool can be helpful and important for sleep. Consider using blackout curtains to block out any daylight that may come through and use white noise machines or earplugs to minimize disturbances that could disrupt your sleep.
4. Mind your diet and exercise: Timing of exercise and meals can impact circadian rhythm. While exercise can be great for sleep, rigorous activity too close to bedtime can be stimulating and sabotage your ability to fall asleep. Also avoid meals and caffeine near bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep. If you’re interested in learning more about how timing of meals – and even snacks – might impact circadian rhythm and health, check out these fascinating TED Talks by circadian researcher Dr. Satchin Panda.
5. Limit exposure to screens before bed: The blue light from screens can delay your body's production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Not only that, but blue light is activating. In fact, it’s the most energizing part of the full white light spectrum. For this reason, bright light during the day can be a great fatigue management strategy AND it can help strengthen your circadian rhythm and improve sleep (see below). But bright light and mentally stimulating online activities may be the last thing you need too close to bedtime. People who are "good" sleepers may not notice much difference, but if you're prone to poor sleep or insomnia, set yourself up for you best opportunity for good sleep. To prepare your body for a restful night's sleep, reduce exposure to screens at least an hour or two before bedtime. Reading a book, taking a warm bath, or listening to relaxing music are some nice winding down alternatives. Just don’t try too hard to relax, as that can backfire. Blue light blocking glasses (such as Swannies or Uvex Skyper) as you wind down before bed may be helpful. And an amber lens clip-on book light can create a nice candlelight type effect, without the blue light.
6. Get lots of morning light: Bright light during the day has a powerful influence on the circadian rhythm – especially in the morning (the earlier and more consistent timing, the better) and especially outdoor light (which is more powerful than indoor light - even when overcast and raining!) Consistent morning light, ideally within 30 to 60 minutes of awakening, can help to reset your circadian rhythm, that is, your body’s 24-hour biological clock. A daily morning walk can be fantastic for sleep – at any time of year, but especially when you want to reset your body’s clock.
7. Embrace the extra hour: When November 5th arrives, take full advantage of the additional hour you gain. Use it to indulge in self-care, catch up on a hobby, or simply savor some extra moments of relaxation. This gift of time can be a precious opportunity to nurture your mental well-being.
8. Be Patient with yourself: Remember that adjusting to the time change may take a few days, and it's perfectly normal to feel a bit off during this transition. Be patient with yourself and allow your body the time it needs to adapt to the new schedule.
Or ... when all else fails, follow these simple guidelines 😉
You can make the most adjusting to the November 5th, 2023, time change by approaching it with mindfulness and intention. In fact, thinking of it as an extra hour of “me time”, can help reduce anxiety about whether you’ll get your full night of sleep. And by gradually adjusting your sleep schedule, maintaining consistency, optimizing your sleep environment, and embracing self-care, you can ensure a smoother transition into the fall season. Above all, remember that it’s normal to have poor sleep from time to time. So, go with the flow and you’ll be on track in no time.
Looking for more help to get your sleep back on track? Send me a message to join the waitlist for one-on-one CBT-I or the therapist-guided digital CBT-I program. Or get started right away by signing up for my online self-paced program on Effective Natural Strategies for Chronic Insomnia.
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