How to (Really) Get an Hour of Extra Sleep This Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings is ending this weekend! It's that almost holiday-like autumnal midnight when we "fall back," and (supposedly) gain an hour of sleep. It was always such a welcome event in my house, until I had young children, whose body clocks were rarely influenced by time zones or central clocks. Nobody could tell them to sleep an hour late, nor would they be consoled when darkness forced them inside earlier than usual.


Teenagers, of course, relished the extra hour of video game play, but at they least let me relish the extra hour of shut-eye.


Now, in the throes of perimenopause when sleep is such a challenge anyway, I am feeling this meme on a soul level:


Tell me I’m not alone! Adding insult to insomnia, this time of year can be fraught with mental health challenges, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), even when you can count on consistent sleep. Yay.


Nonetheless, there is hope. There are things we can do to better adjust to this annual phenomenon; there are some supplements to help ease us into sleep and to awake refreshed; and there are ways to adjust more quickly on the other side of the time change. They may even help us shake the blues. Let’s look at a few of them.


Get a Head Start.


Three days prior to the time change, shift your mealtimes and bedtime frame by 30-45 minutes. If you’re accustomed to eating dinner at 6:30 pm, push that to 7 or 7:15; likewise, if you are generally horizontal between 10 pm and 6 am, shift that frame to 10:30-6:30. Finally, aim to break your overnight fast 30-45 minutes later than usual, and do so with a high-protein breakfast.


After the time change, resume your normal schedule.


Summary:

3 days before time change:

  • Eat dinner and breakfast 30-45 minutes later than usual.

  • Break your overnight fast with a high-protein breakfast.

  • Shift the hours you spend in bed 30-45 minutes later.

  • Return to your regular schedule after the time change.

 

Early Morning Sunshine.


After the time change is the perfect time to tighten up some habits to help you sleep better every night. If you’ve read any of my writings on sleep, you’ll probably recognize the next slogan: