It works the same for all of us, if you normally went to bed at 11 PM, the new clock time will indicate it is 10 PM at that time. When you wait until it is 11PM new clock time, that makes it the equivalent of midnight before you changed clock time, so you are staying up one hour later. Some people find this change difficult and even upsetting.
Here’s some tips to try to make this change easier:
- Remember, you have probably stayed up later on weekends for even more than one hour extra without too much trouble, so know that your body can adapt to a later bedtime. That fact can help calm some of your anxiety about the coming time change.
- One week before it’s time to shift your clocks back, go to bed 15 minutes later. Every two days after, go to bed an additional 15 minutes later. This will gradually shift your sleep rhythms to be in sync with the time change when it comes.
- During the week before it is time to shift your clocks back, gradually shift your dinner time to being later. That will help shift your evening and time before bedtime.
- Adjust the lighting in your house. Open your window coverings as soon as you awaken. In the evening, dim your lights to help you calm down before sleep.
- It is helpful to install dimmer switches on lights so you can have adequate light to do your day end activities, while reducing exposure to bright light. This helps you to calm down.
- You want to respect and care for the part of you that is anxious. A good way to do that is begin slowing down and relaxing sleep preparation activities one hour before the new sleep time. That is the time you went to sleep before changing clock time.
- Taking a hot bath is an excellent way to slow down before bed. In addition to providing relaxation, a bath raises your body temperature. Then when you get out of the bath your body temperature lowers, which is what happens when you sleep, so lowering your body temperature helps you ease into sleep.
- Caffeine and alcohol both interfere with your sleep cycle. So for a day or two before the time changes, limit your intake of those substances and that will help your sleep cycle more shift more easily and naturally.
- If you need to nap, do it mid-afternoon at the latest and for a maximum of 30 minutes. Napping in the late afternoon or for longer periods can interfere with your body’s natural wake-sleep rhythms.
- If you have children, use tips # 2-5 with them and that will help them more easily adjust to the time change.
Turning your clock back one hour can be very manageable if you follow these simple tips! Sleep well!
This article originally appeared on the Sleep Easily Blog.