Fall Back to Fall Asleep: Tips for Adjusting to Daylight Saving Time

That time of year has arrived once again – the clocks roll backward and we lose an hour of evening daylight in exchange for more morning sun. While gaining an hour of sleep sounds ideal, many dread the adjustment period required by our internal body clocks to adapt to the time change of Daylight Saving Time (DST). 

As the sleep specialists at Snoring and Sleep Solutions of Nevada explain, our circadian rhythms rely on natural light-dark cycles to regulate important physiological and behavioral processes over 24 hours. Disrupting these intrinsic signals overnight puts our systems slightly out of sync until re entrained. Symptoms like daytime sleepiness, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, irritability and digestive upset commonly arise until stabilization occurs.

The good news? Following evidence-based strategies optimizes the transition process and minimizes discomfort, guided by the experts at Snoring and Sleep Solutions of Nevada:

  • Starting a few days before fall back weekend, shift wake/bedtimes 15 minutes earlier each night to synchronize your schedule gradually.


  • Ensure morning sunlight exposure within an hour of rising via outdoor activity or light therapy to cement your new routine.


  • In the days following, limit daytime naps as these may undermine nighttime sleep drive.


  • Try a melatonin supplement 0.5-5mg about an hour before your target bedtime to reinforce the body’s natural rhythms.


  • Blackout curtains and a consistent bedtime routine including relaxation techniques wind down your mind and body for slumber.


  • If possible, plan an extra day off work after adjusting your schedule to adapt without performance demands.


Here is a detailed breakdown on the most important methods you can use.

Gradual Adjustment

Starting 1-2 weeks in advance of the time change:

– Shift bedtimes and wake times 15 minutes earlier each night to gently synchronize to fall back weekend’s hour loss. 

– Wear blue light-blocking glasses 2 hours before bedtime to trick the brain into perceiving later sunset times each evening.

– Adjust mealtimes slightly earlier each day leading up to maintain consistency. 

A woman sleeping with an eye mask
A young woman sleeping on the bed and seems happy

Proper Light Exposure

Ensure natural sunlight hits your retinas within 30-60 minutes of morning rise:

– Open curtains to bright dawn light upon waking or sit near windows during breakfast. 

– Plan morning activities like exercise or errands outdoors when possible mid-late fall. 

– Supplement with a 10,000 lux light therapy box for 30 minutes upon first stirring if windows face shade. 

Sleep Drive Optimization

Prioritize promoting deep, restorative slumber during adjustment:

– Limit screen time in the evenings and avoid electronics/work in the hour before bed. 

– Blackout curtains and a white noise machine reinforce an optimal dark and peaceful snooze space.

– Our specialists may recommend melatonin supplementation of 0.5-5 mg as a natural circadian regulating assistant. 

Performance Preparation

Allow time to readjust without added pressures initially:

– Plan low-key tasks for the first few weeknights post-time change versus high-stakes obligations.  

– Be extra diligent in hydration, nutrition, and limiting stimulants/alcohol to promote recovery during adjustment.

Struggling despite efforts? Consult Snoring and Sleep Solutions of Nevada for further evaluation and personalized guidance beating time change troubles once and for all. By optimizing circadian rhythms through evidence-based techniques, you’ll find adjusting to DST quick and painless.

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