Daylight Savings Time officially ended in the Northern hemisphere and once again, it is time for clocks to "fall back."
To Americans, even though turning the clocks an hour back has become a routine, many of them still find it challenging to adjust back from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. It has affected their sleep, hence, their productivity and caused serious accidents.
How Daylight Savings Affect Sleep
Unfortunately, while clocks are easy to reprogram, the body's Circadian rhythm is not. For many Americans, the end of Daylight Savings Time means getting not enough sleep or too much of it. Either way, the body's internal clock might be to blame.
"You might not think that a one hour change is a lot," explained Fred Turek of the Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology at Northwest University.
It might take a few days for the body to readjust to a new schedule.
How To Sleep Better
With winter right around the corner, it is easy to just hit the snooze button and get another hour of sleep. However, experts agree that it is important to stick to the schedule.
"Resist the urge to sleep in on Sunday and instead keep your normal bedtime the night before the time change then wake up — perhaps without an alarm — on Sunday and start your day by walking outside," said Rebecca Robbins, a post-doctoral fellow at New York University's School of Medicine. "If we delay our bed or rising time by even one hour our body goes into transition mode, trying to transition to a new time zone."
She added that the trick is to be as consistent as possible. If by the morning, a person failed to get sufficient amount of sleep, it is better to get power naps or cat naps throughout the day than sleeping in. It will allow them to recover a healthy amount of rest without further impacting the body's internal clock. This also includes sleeping and waking up according to schedule during the weekend.
Moreover, Robbins suggests that people, who struggle to adjust back to Standard Time this week, go outside early in the morning and take a walk. The sign of the sun will "trigger the alert phase" of one's Circadian rhythm, basically telling the body that this is the time to be awake.
In addition, experts also said that to get better sleep, avoid stimulating substances such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and tobacco before sleeping. Exercising regularly during the day, but not before bedtime, can also help improve sleep.