At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2018, many folks will be anticipating gaining an hour of treasured sleep as they “fall back” — turning the clocks back one hour.
However, according to Harvard Medical School, the reality is that a one-hour shift in the sleep cycle – even when “gaining” an hour — can affect sleep for up to one week. Instead of getting more slumber, many people wake up earlier, have difficulty falling asleep and may even wake up during the night.
According to the Better Sleep Council (BSC), a nonprofit organization devoted to informing the public about the critical relationships between sleep, good health and quality of life, there are some tips to aid in adjusting to the forthcoming time change. It may even include a fall favorite — eating pumpkin seeds!
- Boost your mood with pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan and magnesium, which increases serotonin levels (lowering stress) and helps to put you in a better mood, which may lead to better sleep.
- Establish a healthy bedtime routine: Having a consistent, relaxing and reproducible bedtime routine will help transition your mind and body from awake to sleep. Try reading a book or coloring to unwind before slumber.
- Body clock: Get some bright light or sunlight in the morning. Exposure to natural light sets the body clock and helps boost mood and energy. Be sure to open the curtains as soon as you wake up and, if possible, go for an a.m. walk. After sunset, do the opposite and dim the indoor lights to get your body back on track.
- Leave the windows closed: Health experts advise against opening windows at night because pollen and other allergens can leave you with a stuffy nose and watery eyes in the morning.
- Change pajamas EVERY night: A pair of pajamas gets dirty fast. Consider changing your nightwear every single day.
- Shy away from long naps: Longer daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep. Napping re-cues the body’s drive to sleep, so you won’t be as tired at night as you need to be if you’ve taken that nap.
- Media curfew: No matter where you are, be sure to maintain your media curfew by turning off electronic devices at least one hour before you plan on going to bed. The blue light emitted from the screen suppresses your body’s production of the hormone melatonin, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Have a cool head and warm feet: A bedroom should have a temperature between 65 and 67 degrees for comfortable sleeping.