It’s true, you can’t run from this. The end of daylight saving time is coming on November 1. Are you ready?
Sure, you could just flee to non-complying realms like Arizona (or Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or American Samoa… all of which sound pretty compelling this time of year, actually). But if you live in the rest of the U.S. and its territories, you’re going to have to “fall back” an hour like everyone else.
No one looks forward to the time change, but there are ways to make it less of a hassle.
Here’s what you need to know to get with the program, stress-free.
Enjoy that extra hour of daylight…
If your typical wake up time is 8am, on Sunday, November 1, you’ll be up at 7am, which means you score an extra hour of light in the morning.
Now’s the perfect time to sneak in a walk or run, which can give your mood and energy a boost. The time change is also a great opportunity to lock in your morning exercise routine for the rest of the year, since working out in the afternoon will get tougher as the days get shorter with winter.
…Or the extra hour of sleep
If you’re too tired to get up on Sunday, it could indicate you’re sleep deprived (like so many of us are), so go ahead and take advantage of the extra hour to sleep in, suggests sleep specialist and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD. Later that night, just be sure to get to bed at least an hour earlier than the clock says, so you don’t fall deeper into sleep deficit.
Get the kids on track
Children can have a harder time making the adjustment, but getting them acclimated can be a breeze. Starting a week before the time change, Breus recommends putting kids to bed 15 minutes later than usual, every other night. By the time October 31 rolls around, they’ll be used to going to bed an hour later, and if all goes well, waking up later in the morning. (Bonus: kids will want to be up an hour later on Halloween anyway, so here’s a ready-made occasion to indulge.)
Once you turn the clocks back on November 1, they’ll be back on schedule.
Perk up with blue light
It’s perfectly normal to feel some afternoon grogginess for a week or so after the time change, but there’s a natural remedy. Light therapy boxes, particularly those that emit blue light, can combat your brain’s tendency to pump out melatonin (the sleep hormone) when it starts getting dark earlier in the day, Breus explains.
Breus likes the Philips goLITE BLU Energy Light, available in rechargeable ($150; amazon.com) and compact ($100; amazon.com) versions, but you can get similar benefits with any light therapy device with blue light. You can also skip the gadget and simply buy alertness-promoting bulbs for your existing fixtures, such as Definity Digital by LightingScience’s bulbs ($70; amazon.com).
Bonus: If you’re prone to morning grogginess or the winter blues, these gadgets can help boost energy and mood throughout the year.
Use the light for 20 minutes, tops, and not after 7pm, Breus advises, to gain a few hours’ worth of afternoon alertness without getting over stimulated.
Spruce up your sleep hygiene
Anytime you focus on sleep is a good opportunity to freshen up your sleep habits. That means keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet, banishing electronics, cutting off caffeine in the afternoon, and keeping a consistent bedtime all year long.
And duh, remember to set your clocks back
Before you go to sleep on the night of Saturday, October 31, simply turn your clocks back an hour. Good news is, there’s no need to fiddle with smartphones: they’ll update on their own at the official time change, 2am. This way, you avoid that Monday morning panic of walking into work an hour early. (Oy!)