It’s time to change the clocks on Sunday and get an “extra”
hour of sleep. What could be wrong with that? Well, it depends on whom you ask.
Dr. Alon Y. Avidan, the director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, says
the fall time switch is certainly easier on the body than when we lose
an hour of sleep each spring. But the shift still takes its toll, tinkering
with the body’s delicate circadian rhythms, and that can lead to
several days of feeling sluggish and less alert.
The solution, Avidan said, is to do everything you can to stick to your
normal sleep schedule. Within a few days, he predicted, you should feel
back on track.
Here are nine tips for doing just that:
1. Remember to change all—repeat, all—the clocks before you
go to sleep Saturday night (including the one on the microwave, the stove
top, the car dashboard...), obvious, right? But it's oh, so easy to
have your schedule thrown off because you forgot to reset the clock on,
say, the coffeemaker.
2. Don't use this time change as an opportunity to "sleep in,"
Avidian said. After you change the clocks, aim to hit the hay about an
hour later than you normally would, and try to get up at the same time
you normally would on Sunday mornings—or even a little earlier.
It will make it easier to fall asleep at your usual time on Sunday evening.
3. On Sunday morning, avoid caffeine after an early morning cup of joe.
Your goal is to fall asleep easily on Sunday night and get back into your
4. Same goes for alcohol. "Never, ever, ever use alcohol" to
try to get some sleep, Avidan said. Alcohol ends up having the opposite
effect and leads to a restless night.
5. Avoid eating or drinking anything else that might be too stimulating
right before bedtime. (Yes, we are talking about the espresso ice cream
you've tucked away in the back of the freezer).
6. Get some extra sun—and some exercise—the day before and
after the time change, and even a few days after that. Ejoying the rays
for a few extra minutes will help you reset your system, and the exercise
will help tucker you out so you fall asleep easier at night.
7. Try to go to sleep at the same time you normally would, even though
you might still feel it's an hour earlier.
8. Take the time to wind down before bed. Consider a warm bath or shower,
a cup of decaf tea and a relaxing book. Put away all electronic devices
and turn off the TV.
9. If you already know that the time change messes up your sleep schedule
for a few days, you might be tempted to "take something" to
help you catch some Zzz's. Resist the tempation, Avidan said, as that
can ultimately do more harm than good.
The sooner you can get back to your “normal” schedule on your
own, he said, the better you will feel.
*Article courtesy of LA Times: