Get excited. Time “falls back” tonight!
Daylight saving time ends early Sunday morning at 2 a.m. While most people are ecstatic about potentially gaining an extra hour of sleep, some actually struggle to make the transition.
"Any time you [change] the body's clock even by an hour, it really throws off all the hormones in your body," said Dr. Shelby Harris, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Montefiore Medical Center. "Our biological clocks are so well set that even an hour's difference in light exposure [can create changes in the body]."
Sometimes, when transitioning out of daylight saving time, people experience headaches, irritability and, in more severe circumstances, depression. Here are five tips to help you combat the daylight saving time blues:
1. Create or continue with a nightly sleep ritual. Getting into calming routines before going to sleep is a great way to have a positive sleeping experience any time of the year. But, creating a routine right before or during the first week of daylight saving time ends can help to prevent possible negative effects.
2. Adjust your light exposure. Whether we notice it or not, our bodies are instinctually more energized during daylight and programmed to calm down when it is dark. So, even if you wake up while it’s still dark out, turn on a lot of light to signal to your body that it’s time to wake up. And, at night, try dimmer lighting. Some experts even recommend light therapy, which uses a device to mimic outdoor light.
3. Try to spend some time outside during the day. "Even 20 to 30 minutes outside will make a big difference," suggests Dr. Marlynn Wei. "A lot of people with the seasonal change and having less exposure to daylight can have more symptoms of depression."
4. Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine intake. According to Harris, alcohol, caffeine, and even nicotine can negatively impact your ability to go to sleep and even cause headaches.
5. Exercise! Working out a few hours before bed time can burn calories and make you more prone to be tired when it’s time to go to bed an hour earlier than usual.