A few simple strategies can help you cope with winter’s reduced daylight hours.
Turning back clocks in the fall may mean an extra hour of sleep, but it also means less daylight. Limited sunlight affects your body’s natural rhythm—or biological clock—that syncs with daytime and nighttime.
“A time change can greatly affect your sleep,” says Kelly Schmidt, RPSGT, RCP, CCSH, CSE, Facilitator of the Sleep Disorders Centers at HSHS Sacred Heart and HSHS St. Joseph’s hospitals. “However, you may notice it less if you have good sleep habits and prepare in advance.”
To better adjust to the end of daylight savings time, Schmidt encourages patients to do the following:
TIP 1: Change up your schedule. Every other day during the week before the time change, wake up 15 minutes earlier. This will help your body adjust smoothly to waking up earlier after the time change.
TIP 2: Exercise. Get 15 – 20 minutes of physical activity daily for more energy and better quality of sleep.
TIP 3: Chase the sunlight. Some studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and sleep issues. Try to get at least 10 – 30 minutes daily of natural midday sunlight for vitamin D production. However, take care to not get too much sun exposure, which can lead to premature skin aging and skin cancer.
TIP 4: Supplement when needed. Getting enough vitamin D from the sun can be challenging. Ask your physician if vitamin D supplementation is right for you.