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Falling Back, Not Out of Routine

It’s that time of year again. We will soon be moving our clocks back an hour. The end of daylight savings and falling backward can sometimes be a disrupter in people’s routines, not just for sleep. Changing between standard time and daylight savings doesn’t have to throw you off your routine.

On Sunday, November 6th, Wisconsinites and most of the country besides Arizona and Hawaii will be setting back their clocks one hour and “getting” an extra hour of sleep. This change can throw off sleep routines, hunger cues, and many other aspects of everyday life. Even though this is a change we observe every six months, adjusting the new normal time can still take effort. There are a few steps you can take to ease the effects of the change before you change the clocks Saturday night before heading to bed.

If you don’t have a sleep routine now, create one. Sticking to a sleep routine can help your body know when it’s time to start resting. Each person’s routine can be as different as they are. If you’ve never stuck to a sleep routine, consider starting one a few days before falling back in time. A sleep routine can consist of staying off your phone 30 minutes before bed, drinking a de-caffeinated tea, changing into pajamas before getting into bed, or whatever helps your body/mind get ready to rest. Bedtimes aren’t just for kids anymore! Staying consistent with the amount of sleep you get each night also helps, including on weekends. Sleeping in on weekends may sound like a good idea, but it can disrupt your sleep cycle for the upcoming weeknights.

Soak Up the Sun. Getting natural light whenever you can or using light therapy can also improve mood and energy. It is best to get as much natural light as possible, so open those curtains and blinds during the day if you can access a window. If you work or live in a darker area, using light therapy during the winter can provide some added support. There are a few recommendations by the Mayo Clinic to look into before using light therapy, largely recommending its best to be under the care of a health professional when using light therapy. Talk with your doctor before starting treatment, especially if you have lupus, have certain eye conditions, or are on medication that makes you sensitive to light.

Stay Social. Creating quality social time when, even when it gets darker earlier, even though you may not want to be around others, is essential to keep you feeling your best. Your brain produces endorphins when socializing with people you enjoy spending time with; this hormone helps make you feel happier. You may choose to talk on the phone or video chat if they live a distance away or you need to social distance.

Prep Your Kids. A major step to sticking to your routine and helping your kids is making sure your child doesn’t go to bed too early or wake up earlier than they already do. When you “fall back,” make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening and ensure that their room isn’t too bright in the morning. If possible, blackout curtains can be a huge help as it doesn’t let in light. With all the focus on your kid’s sleep, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too! Many adults feel sluggish themselves after the daylight-saving time switch, so ensure you’re getting the rest you need as well.

Remember, even though your phone automatically changes doesn’t mean your mind and body will. Give yourself time to adjust and be kind to yourself if you’re feeling tired or not as productive.