Don’t forget that Daylight Saving Time ends tonight

An extra hour of sleep is coming your way as Daylight Saving Time ends, but it also means sunset will be early.

The time change officially takes place at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, but you don’t have to hop out of bed and move the big hand on your clock back an hour as the change is automatic for most smartphones, computers, tablets and other digital devices.

If you’re still using an analog alarm clock, you’ll probably want to move it back before you go to sleep on Saturday.  

The end of Daylight Saving Time is also a good time to change the batteries and make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half, so take a few minutes to push the test button to make sure all alarms are working.  It’s much better to take those few aggravating minutes to ensure your alarms work when you really need them in an emergency.

To make the transition easier, you can check out these tips from the experts:

  • Adjust the lighting in your house. Open your window coverings as soon as you awaken, and in the evening, dim your lights to help you calm down before sleep.
  • Remember, you have probably stayed up later on weekends for even more than one hour extra without too much trouble, so know that your body can adapt to a later bedtime. That fact can help calm some of your anxiety about the coming time change.
  • Every two days after, go to bed an additional 15 minutes earlier. This will gradually shift your sleep rhythms to be in sync with the time change when it comes.
  • It is helpful to install dimmer switches on lights so you can have adequate light to do your day end activities while reducing exposure to bright light. This helps you to calm down.
  • Taking a hot bath is an excellent way to slow down before bed. In addition to providing relaxation, a bath raises your body temperature. Then when you get out of the bath your body temperature lowers, which is what happens when you sleep, so lowering your body temperature helps you ease into sleep.
  • Caffeine and alcohol both interfere with your sleep cycle. So for a day or two after the time changes, limit your intake of those substances and that will help your sleep cycle more shift more easily and naturally.
  • If you need to nap, do it mid-afternoon at the latest and for a maximum of 30 minutes. Napping in the late afternoon or for longer periods can interfere with your body’s natural wake-sleep rhythms.