While your phone may automatically update for daylight saving time, our bodies aren’t always as quick to adapt. Here are six tips to help you fall back into standard time this weekend on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 a.m.
1. Update your clocks in advance
While most smartphones and computers update the time automatically, there are some clocks that you’ll need to change manually. Consider updating the clocks in your home, including those on your microwave, oven and car, before you go to bed on Saturday. This will help ensure that all your clocks have the correct time in the morning.
2. Create a nighttime routine
Try to incorporate relaxing activities into a nightly routine that you can enjoy every night before bed. A consistent routine can help signal to your brain that it’s time to start winding down for the day and help you get more restful sleep, which can help ward off the impacts of the time change. For instance, you can take a shower or bath, sip on a cup of sleepy-time tea, read a book (preferrably not on a screen) or listen to a meditation. These types of activities will help your mind and body settle down for the night so you can wake up feeling more refreshed.
3. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
It can be tempting to stay up late or change your routine now that you have an “extra hour” in the day. However, disruptions to your sleep patterns can negatively impact your mood, energy levels, concentration and general well-being. The closer you stick to your regular routine of getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night and going to bed and waking up at the same time, the faster your body will adjust to the time change.
4. Limit your screen time
Phone and computer screens emit high levels of blue light, which can negatively impact your sleep. This is because blue light affects your circadian rhythm and melatonin (sleep) hormone levels, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. While blue light glasses have become increasingly popular to combat these effects, there is limited research on their effectiveness. Instead, it’s best to limit your screen time before bed or use apps that filter out or block blue light to help you sleep better. Many devices allow you to set a timer, so your screen automatically reduces the amount of blue light at night and returns to normal in the morning. Here are a few you can try:
Available for: iPhone, iPad
Night Shift automatically adjusts the colors of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum — making the display easier on your eyes.
Available for: Android, Tablets
Set a darker theme on your phone or tablet, so you can use it more comfortably at night.
5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and snacks before bed
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may prevent your body from relaxing naturally at night. Alcohol and food can also impact your sleep by disrupting sleep hormones like melatonin. You can help your body relax and prepare for sleep by avoiding caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime and alcohol at least three hours before bedtime. Also, try to avoid eating snacks later in the evening. If you are feeling hungry, keep your snacks small and light.
6. Take a cat nap if needed
If you’re feeling the effects of the time change, taking a quick cat nap during the day is okay. Just be sure to limit your naps to 20 to 30 minutes. Longer naps can disrupt your normal sleep patterns, which may cause you to go through cycles of getting too much or too little sleep that will leave you feeling more tired overall.
Resources for better sleep
Students living in residence halls can order free Buff Boxes to get wellness supplies delivered to the front desk of their hall, including materials to help with stress and sleep.
Students who live off campus can pick up free supplies, like tea, sleep masks and ear plugs in the Figueroa Family Wellness Suite on the third floor of Wardenburg Health Center.
Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offers free weekly meditation in person and online at the CU Art Museum. This guided meditation can help undo stress, soothe your nervous system and help you feel more relaxed throughout the day. Meditations are available on Fridays from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
Stop by one of the Relaxation Stations at the Rec Center or Wardenburg Health Center. Each station includes two nap pods that will lull you to sleep with a comfortable cushioned seat, customized sleep playlists and a gentle waking sequence. No reservation required, just drop by. Nap pods are free for all CU Boulder students, staff and faculty.