It’s fall, y’all! We’ve officially entered the season of leaves on the ground, pies in the oven, and pumpkin spice lattes in hand at all times. It’s football season, apple picking season, and the season to get out your coziest PJs and fluffiest comforters. As much as we love fall and all its trappings, they can’t always distract from the fact that, whether we like it or not, darkness is coming.
Sorry, that was a little dramatic.
What we’re talking about here is Daylight Saving Time – or, rather, the end of Daylight Saving Time. When our clocks “fall back” an hour at 2AM on Sunday, November 5th we’ll see brighter mornings and darker afternoons, and our circadian rhythms will be in for a collective jolt.
While an extra hour of sleep sounds like a dream, the abrupt change has the potential to be a nightmare for your finely tuned internal clock, and can lead to sleeplessness, daytime drowsiness, and all the other unpleasant effects of disturbed sleep. In fact, one sleep expert found that the sudden end of Daylight Saving can impact your sleep for up to a week if you aren’t prepared for the big shift.
A week of disturbed sleep is something we at Hatch shudder to even think about, so we’re putting on our sleep expert hats to give you the tips you need to “fall back” without letting your sleep schedule fall apart. So, unless you live in most of Arizona (in which case, keep on keepin’ on), here are our tricks to stay sleeping peacefully, no matter what the clock says:
Plan Ahead to Fall Back
When it comes to lessening the impact of the November “fall back,” it pays to think ahead. Prepare for the upcoming change by slowly adjusting your bedtime and wake-up time up 10 or 15 minutes a day in the week leading up to the end of DST.
For example, if you go to bed at 10 PM and get up at 6 AM, start to push those times forward. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, try to go to bed at 10:15 and wake up at 6:15. On Thursday, hit the hay at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30. This way, by Saturday night your bedtime should be 11PM. You’ll get your extra hour of sleep, wake up at your customary 6 AM, and totally skip any long-term disturbances to your sleep cycle. Ta-da!
Lean Into Your Bedtime Routine
A solid, consistent bedtime routine is the foundation of any good night’s sleep. While important to have a sleep routine that works for you throughout the year, an excellent bedtime routine can be especially helpful during the bumpy bedtimes that fall around a time change.
Focus on what you know helps you fall asleep – whether this is a hot shower, a slow, relaxing skincare routine, or even listening to something soothing on Restore 2 for a few minutes. Your brain knows that the end of your bedtime routine is sleep, so help it prepare to the best of your abilities.
If you think your bedtime routine needs a little adjustment, transitional periods like the fall “fall back” can be a great time to experiment. For instance, if you usually fall asleep scrolling, and are curious about phone-free bedtime, try it out. Give yourself 5 minutes to unwind from your newsfeed before trying to sleep. See how it feels. Instagram will still be there in the morning, we promise!
Tune Up Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm and Daylight Saving Time may not be best friends, but by understanding how your internal clock responds to external stimuli, you can help it quickly adjust.
Without getting too technical here, your circadian rhythm uses light to determine what time of day it is, and whether you should be feeling awake or sleepy. The more natural light you expose yourself to, the more awake you’ll feel during the day.
In the days after we “fall back,” make sure to get plenty of sunlight as soon as possible after you wake up. Take a walk, drink your coffee outside, or simply use a sunrise alarm clock like Restore 2 to let your circadian rhythm know it’s no longer sleep time.
The November “fall back” can also make bedtime a little tricky. When it's dark from 5pm onwards, your circadian rhythm doesn't get a strong cue that it's time to sleep. Evening blends into night, and night blends into 1 AM pretty quickly if you aren’t careful. To stop from accidentally staying up past your bedtime, keep yourself consistent with a new Cue to Rest on Restore 2. Cues use light and sound to remind you to start your unwind routine, so the bedtime reminder on your phone isn't so easily ignored 👀
Like it or not, Daylight Saving Time is coming to an end. But that doesn’t mean your nights of awesome sleep need to end, too. Plan ahead a little bit, let this be your bedtime routine era, and give your circadian rhythm some love to “fall back” with ease this year.