Tips for Coping With the Daylight Saving Time “Fall Back” Time Change

by Dr. Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM

Oct 17, 2019

Like it or not, autumn is here. While it’s only an hour difference, the switch out of Daylight Saving Time can disrupt your daily routine and alter your body clock, affecting your mood, energy, and sleep patterns.

It’s particularly difficult for those who already have sleep issues, and for those with children or animals that don’t understand the change of time. And if you are not getting enough proper sleep, you can put your memory, productivity, emotional stability, and physical health at risk.

While there is much talk in some regions about doing away with Daylight Saving Time changes, for many of us, we still have to do this for at least another year.

Fortunately, there are some sleep-better tips you can do to ease yourself back to the fall time jump.

Start preparing early

Believe it or not, even just one hour can wreak havoc on your sleep pattern if you are not prepared for it. Attempting to acclimate to the fall time change all at once can be tough for many people. A more effective plan? Ease into the fall time schedule by staying up a little later and getting up a bit later too for a few days prior to the new time change.

If you have young children, you may want to start this routine even a bit earlier, with gradual adjustments to the bedtime and waketime routine.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Stimulants like alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your body’s internal clock, especially when you’re are trying to adjust to the time change. Caffeine can stay in your system for a long time, so stop with the caffeine at least four to six hours before you plan to wind down for bed. While you may think that alcohol can help you sleep, the truth is, that it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, resulting in a less restful and restorative sleep.

Instead, drink an herbal tea like chamomile. It will not only help you unwind after a long day, but also help you get a good night’s sleep.

Get some exercise

The fall time change means earlier morning sun. So, why not make the most of it with some exercise? Getting the body moving early in the day causes your brain to release serotonin, a feel-good hormone that can help your body better adjust to the time change.

Use Japanese reishi mushrooms

Known as ling zhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine (or “divine mushroom” for the English speakers), Japanese reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries as a super sleep aid. This incredible herb has been shown to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, and treat insomnia.

Mikei Red Reishi Fruiting BodyThough it sounds paradoxical, reishi can help you both relax enough to sink into a restful sleep and support your energy through the daytime. It is neither a sedative nor a stimulant.

And, it’s not just seasonal Daylight Saving Time changes that this can help. The same benefits apply for shift workers and time-zone-changing travelers.

Japanese reishi mushrooms also boost the immune system, helping you stay healthy when time changes can throw your body’s internal clock for a loop. Don’t let the fall time change get the better of you this year. With reishi to the rescue, you will be fully prepared for this annual autumn switch in time.

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others. www.activetcm.com

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