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Americans have moved their clocks forward 1 hour in the spring and back again in the fall since the Standard Time Act of 1918. Though the dates on which we change time have varied since then, the law currently states Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November. That means we’ll set our clocks back at 2:00 a.m. local time on November 4 this year.
You might look forward to this day, thinking, “Yes! An extra hour of sleep this weekend!” Not so fast. Time change can temporarily disrupt your circadian rhythm – the internal body clock that controls your natural cycle of sleepiness and alertness – which can lead to days of fatigue, limited productivity and difficulty concentrating.
How much of a difference does an hour make anyway? For many, it’s more than you may think. A Better Sleep Council survey revealed that 40% of U.S. adults say it takes them a week, sometimes longer, to get back to normal after resetting their clocks. Sorry, ladies. More women (46%) reported struggling with the time change than did men (32%).
A sleep study conducted by Liverpool John Moores University in England confirms what many of us are feeling. During the week following the autumnal time change, researchers found people woke up earlier, had more trouble falling asleep, and were more likely to wake up during the night. Instead of gaining an hour of sleep, the cumulative effect of these sleep issues actually suggests an overall loss of sleep. That’s an ironic – and unfortunate – plot twist when the fall time change actually affords us an additional hour in the day.
Unless you live in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or another U.S. territory that doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, you’ll have to deal with the time change and all the consequences that come with it. (You wouldn’t want to be an hour early to every appointment for the next 18 weeks, would you?)
However, you can prepare yourself with sleep strategies to combat the potential negative side effects of time change. Here are some simple tips that you’ll find to be a piece of cake compared to remembering which combination of buttons changes the time on your microwave:
The good news is that adjusting to turning the clock back is generally easier than when we return to Daylight Saving Time in March. (For tips to make the “spring ahead” time change easier, bookmark our earlier blog on the topic so you’re ready when that time comes.)
Learn how to adjust to the fall time change with ease, so you can get the right amount of zzz’s your body needs. #BSCSleepTips @BetterSleepOrg
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