“Spring forward, fall back,” as the saying goes. Daylight savings time 2014 ends Sunday, November 2. Are you ready for it? Setting the clocks back or forward is really disruptive to your sleep cycle. If you think you’re gaining an hour of sleep; it’s not that simple. Get ready for daylight savings time 2014 by making tiny adjustments now.
Daylight Savings Time and Melatonin
Human beings are marvelously adaptable. Melatonin is a hormone your body produces to regulate your sleep cycle. If you go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time, that’s your body’s sleep cycle, which you’ve programmed by setting a routine. For instance, if you normally go to bed at 10:00pm, your body starts producing melatonin at about 8:00pm, two hours before you shut your eyes and fall asleep. You’ll feel relaxed, less alert and drowsy until about 9:00 or 9:30pm, when you shut off the television and start getting ready for bed. You might try to read a little until quickly dropping off. Melatonin production gradually tapers while you sleep until it is nil, and then you wake up, most likely around 5-7am, depending on how much sleep your body needs.
When Daylight Savings Time 2014 Ends
When daylight savings time 2014 ends, the clocks are set back an hour. Your melatonin production will keep on the old schedule, regardless. If you don’t mind a schedule change, you’ll go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour later. But you might not like a disruption in your routine. You’ve dictated when your body sleeps and wakes for a reason and might want to keep it that way. Here is where you start having problems.
After the time change, your body will start producing melatonin at 7:00pm. You will fight the sleepiness, because it’s too early and you still haven’t finished watching your favorite show on TV. Soon it’s 8:30 pm, and your eyes keeping shutting during the commercials. But you don’t want to go to bed! You push yourself to 10:00pm, drifting off and jolting awake, disrupting your sleep cycle and saying to yourself, “I’ve got to get adjusted and stay awake until my normal bedtime.” So you may have made it to 10pm, but, at 5am, your eyes spring open. You lay there, sleep deprived, watching the sun get brighter until 6am when you finally drag yourself out of bed.
Click on the graphic below to see what happens to your sleep cycle after daylight savings time ends. Note the color highlights, which show an increase in melatonin and a decrease before you wake up, with an assumed bedtime of 10pm waking at 6am.
Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time
Start adjusting your melatonin production now! Click on the calendar below to help you get ready for the time change and adjust your sleeping cycle gradually. You can also read this article on how to get a good night’s sleep for some tips.