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• Fall time change can throw off the internal biological clock that helps to regulate your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle
• Capture as much sunlight as possible first thing in the morning
• Change your sleep habits by 10-15 minutes the week before the time change

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Fall Time Change

Keep your sleep in check with the time change

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  • Time change

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Nov 01, 2012
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While the "fall back" time change provides an extra hour of sleep, it can also have a negative impact on your circadian rhythm. There are ways to prepare and minimize the effects on your body.

The end of daylight savings time on Sunday, November 4, means more than just turning your clocks back one hour. If you’re not careful, that one hour difference can throw off your circadian rhythms, or your internal clock that helps to regulate your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.

Because the circadian clock can get out of rhythm fairly easily, it’s important to follow good sleep habits in general throughout the year, according to Dr. William C. Kohler, Medical Director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, Fla.

“When it comes to easing your fall back transition, you can change your sleep habits by 10-15 minutes the week before the time change,” Dr. Kohler suggests.

During the first few days after setting the clocks back one hour, you will also notice that it’s bright outside in the mornings and becomes dark at an earlier time each evening.

It’s helpful to resynchronize to the new light-dark period by trying to capture as much sunlight as possible first thing in the morning, according to Dr. Michael Decker, Endowed Chair of the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing, College of Health and Human Sciences, Georgia State University and  associate professor of nursing and neural science.

“So, unless you’re driving, take off your sunglasses,” he says. “This is similar to the strategy used to reset your circadian rhythms when traveling across time zones.

In general, the fall time change is an easier adjustment than the spring time change; however, it can still have adverse effects.

“In either case, most people adapt to the change in about 3-5 days”, says Dr. Decker. “In the fall, we gain an extra hour of sleep, whereas in the spring, we lose that hour. Being a sleep restricted society, the loss of one more hour of sleep in the spring is harder to accommodate than gaining an hour in the fall. Another parallel is travel across time zones – we find it easier to travel east to west, rather than west to east.”

One of the biggest mistakes that people make regarding the fall time change is staying up later at night thinking that they’re going to get an extra hour of sleep, adds Dr. Kohler.

In addition to adjusting your sleep schedule by 10-15 minutes the week before and getting plenty of sunlight, Dr. Kohler also recommends avoiding alcohol, taking a brief 15-20 minute nap if you feel yourself getting tired and avoid consuming caffeine close to bedtime.


  1. 1 Siti 10 Nov
    my daughter is 4 mtnohs and i am starting to try her in her crib Also! this is the 5th night. . . for the first 3 nights i rocked her to sleep, or if she fell asleep on the couch its ok 2. . . then after she was sleeping in her crib the layed her and then she woke up there on the night of the 4th layed her in the crib at her bedtime and she fussed a little then fell asleep, same thing tonight she is getting the hang of it. . . Maybe You Should try this, They have to get comfortable with the crib she was first ITS very scarywhen younger i would lay on the crib sheet A Few nights and get my scent on it, That Way When She was in bed She Could I still smell . . . That Was Easier then putting a shirt of mine in the bed with her. . . . .
  2. 2 Anny 10 Nov
    QUOTE. . . I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I stolrgny believe babies cry When They need to have. Even Though It May Be a huge inconvenience, if your child needs you by HIM I think That You Should Give to Him. You can try getting a sling so he can nap while you still move around. While it Requires to sacrifice When They are little (that's the Meaning of parent I think LOL!) it is very good for your future relationship. It builds on bonds, Rather than communicating to your child who needs you for some reason, That You are unavailable and will not need to answer When He has. I know there are a lot of people who believe this is teaching a Child to be selfish, but, HAVING done it Both Ways myself, I very stolrgny disagree. Children learn to exercise Their Will During what we call the terrible 2 s (and 3 s as anyone with a 3 year old will tell you). Before That, When They Cry, They have to need. Their actions are natural responses to Their Needs. I Completely agree! The Most Even staunch advocates cry-it-out (eg Ferber) recommend waiting until a baby is at least one year old. You can not spoil a baby with love and comfort!