Daylight-saving time (DST) ends in early November. It’s usually easier to get used to this time change than the beginning of DST in spring. However, winter time can still affect sleep, appetite, mood, energy and ability to concentrate. To counter these effects, follow these tips.
1. Adopt the new schedule quickly
The best way to get used to the time change is to immediately shift your schedule to the new time. In other words, wake up and go to sleep at the same hour you usually do. For example, if you're used to going to bed at 10 p.m., continue going to bed at 10 p.m. after the time change, even if you're tired at 9 p.m. Stick to it your internal clock will adjust more quickly.
2. Enjoy the natural light
During the day, it’s a good idea to enjoy the sun as much as possible. Daylight has a significant effect on your body’s circadian rhythm. It’s this mechanism that’s responsible for sending signals to all of your body’s circadian systems. To help you overcome this delay, take an early walk before work or during your lunch hour.
3. Try light therapy
Light therapy can help your internal clock get back in sync with exposure to light that mimics the full spectrum of the sun. The light is transmitted to the pineal gland by the optic nerve, which slows down the production of melatonin and resynchronizes the sleep-wake cycle. This therapy can also help you fight against sluggishness and fatigue. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the intensity of the light used (5,000 or 10,000 lux), exposure between 30 and 60 minutes per day is recommended. Try to set a fixed time, ideally soon after sunrise (while reading, eating, or working on the computer, for example). Another form of light therapy is dawn simulation, a technique that involves timing lights in the bedroom to come on gradually, over a period of 30 minutes to 2 hours, before awakening.
4. Consider melatonin
This hormone helps to regulate sleep and can be useful when the clocks go back. Naturally secreted at night by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin works in harmony with your natural sleep cycle to support sound sleep. Some clinical studies have shown that taking synthetic melatonin before bedtime is effective in promoting sleep and helps to "resynchronize" sleep-wake cycles in people suffering from jet lag. To learn more about melatonin supplements, talk to your pharmacist.
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