Daylight saving throw you off? Here's how to reset your sleep schedule


On Sunday morning, you'll need to turn your clocks back an hour: We "fall back" Sunday at 2 a.m. when Daylight saving time, which began in March, ends.

That could mean you get to sleep an extra hour, but most people actually don't, according to 2013 Harvard Research data. Usually, they just wake up an hour earlier the next morning, and for the next five mornings, after the time change.

"Sleep is a rhythm," says Dr. Frank Lipman, founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. Meaning that any disruption, even if it's an extra hour one night, can result in worse sleep.

A consistent routine is key for a good night's rest, and the extra hour that sneaks into your schedule for one night may throw you off for a while. If you're concerned about how the time shift will affect you, try some of these tips to help regulate your sleep cycle.

Use an affordable sleep aid

One in five Americans uses over-the-counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM or ZzzQuil, but those drugs contain antihistamines and can have side effects. Instead, try one of these safer, expert-approved suggestions.

  • Melatonin: Normally released by your body, this hormone dulls alertness to help you become sleepy. You can buy it in pill form. Take some at night — the right dosage per day for adults is typically between .5 and 1.5 milligrams — and you may doze off more quickly.
  • Vitamin D and magnesium: Together, this pair of supplements can help regulate your sleep cycle. Take vitamin D in the morning, as it can give you a boost of energy, and magnesium at night to calm your mind and body. For vitamin D, the recommended dosage per day is 600 international units (IU), and for magnesium the recommended dosage per day is between 100 and 350 milligrams for adults.
  • White noise machine: If you live in a noisy area, consider a white noise machine. Patients in a hospital were found to get better sleep with a noise machine compared to patients sleeping without one, according to a 2016 study. You can also download some free white-noise apps onto your phone if you don't want to invest in the machine.

Avoid alcohol

A glass of wine may help you doze off, but you'll wake up in the middle of the night when your body is breaking down the alcohol. This results in interrupted sleep, which can worsen your mood the next day even more than getting fewer uninterrupted hours of sleep, according to a 2015 study by the National Sleep Foundation.

So, at least three hours before bed, avoid drinking alcohol if you're aiming to feel good the next day.

Turn off Netflix

Your phone, laptop, and tablet all emit "junk light," which triggers your brain into being awake the same way daylight can, according to a 2013 study. Opt to read a book or listen to music before bed instead if you need to wind down.

Whatever works best for you, find a way to insert it into your routine and do it at the same time every day. A steady schedule is key to getting a good night's rest.

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