Every six months or so, as time crawls toward the seasonal clock change, I feel a moment of panic as I try to remember whether I'll be gaining an hour of sleep, or losing an entire hour of shut-eye. Fortunately, Nov. 4 marks the time of year when you get to "fall back" and gain an extra 60 minutes of precious snooze time. But if your body has a hard time switching up schedules, this shift could mess things up for you. Luckily, an expert has some tips for how to adjust your sleep schedule for Daylight Saving Time without throwing your entire body out of whack.
Terry Cralle, MS, RN, CPHQ, a registered nurse, certified clinical sleep educator, and Better Sleep Council spokesperson, tells Elite Daily in an email that, while gaining an hour of sleep might seem like a win-win, it could actually lead to some annoying side effects. For instance, she explains, you might starting waking up earlier than you plan to, or it might even be more difficult for you to fall asleep in general.
Luckily, the suggestions Cralle has for dealing with the time change are actually pretty fun. Whether you snack the night away or treat yourself to a brand new pair of adorable PJs, pay special attention to your sleep schedule in anticipation of Daylight Saving Time, and you'll be sure to drift off to dreamland in no time.
"Get some bright light or sunlight in the morning," Cralle suggests. "Exposure to natural light sets the body clock and helps boost mood and energy."
Once you've managed to get out of bed, be sure to open your curtains or blinds to let the sunlight into your home. Ideally, Cralle explains, it's good to spend some time outside in the morning. But if that doesn't really fit in with your schedule, go for a run or a walk at sundown to help your body wind down for the night.
Everyone has those days when they need to shut their eyes and recharge for a few minutes in the afternoon. But, according to the National Sleep Foundation, any afternoon naps should be kept to under 30 minutes.
"Napping re-cues the body’s drive to sleep," Cralle explains, "so you won’t be as tired at night as you need to be if you’ve taken that nap." So, while there's no need to nix naps completely from your life, just be mindful of how long those daytime snoozes actually are.
Even if, by nature, you'd prefer to keep your home toasty and warm, Cralle recommends lowering the temperature in your bedroom before you go to sleep. "A bedroom should have a temperature between 65 and 67 degrees for comfortable sleeping," she tells Elite Daily.
But that doesn't mean you have to spend the night shivering away. Pile on the cozy blankets, and make sure your toes stay plenty warm so that you have no trouble drifting off.
Judge me all you want, but I tend to gravitate toward my favorite oversized college t-shirt and a pair of flannel pajama pants most nights when I go to sleep. While I do have other actual pairs of proper adult PJs, super-worn clothes are just the comfiest, IMO.
If you can relate (first of all, thank you for making me feel less alone), just make sure you're doing your laundry pretty often, says Cralle. "A pair of pajamas gets dirty fast," she explains. "Consider changing your nightwear every single day."
As much as I love my favorite PJs I definitely understand how this can affect your sleep. After all, on laundry day, there's nothing better than slipping between fresh sheets and wearing still-warm-from-the-dryer clothes, especially as the fall chill is in the air.