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The beginning of fall brings crisp weather, changing leaves, and a shift in our sleep schedules. This shift is commonly known as “falling back,” which requires us to turn back the clocks by one hour to accommodate the end of Daylight Saving Time. Although gaining this precious hour of sleep is seen as a plus, the body needs time to reset and adjust. With a little attention to your sleep environment, you can fall back easily and sleep better all year round!
Just as you would tackle the task of spring cleaning in the warmer months, decluttering during the fall is also needed to maintain a relaxing sleep environment that is free from distractions and stress. If your bedroom floor and underneath your bed has become a dumping ground for shoes, books, and exercise equipment, take some time to clear the clutter and get organized. From a new dresser to a chest of drawers, a little organization goes a long way in helping you drift off to dreamland!
With the dip in temperature, you may feel tempted to crank up the heat before you slip into your sheets, but it’s important to remember that this could have a serious impact on your sleep! Using an extra layer of bedding for added warmth helps to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Check your thermostat before bed, ensuring it’s kept between 15 to 22 degrees Celsius. Remember – it’s perfectly normal to go a little below or above these recommended numbers to ensure you’re most comfortable.
Don't be afraid of the dark - it's good for you! Exposure to bright, artificial light before bed can disrupt the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps shift your body into sleep mode. About an hour before you slip into bed, soften the glow of your ceiling light with a dimmer or switch to using your table lamps only. This will help your body wind down, and prepare for a restful sleep in the dark. Warm-toned bulbs will add a sense of cozy comfort, creating an environment that promotes relaxation and sleep!
Check your smartphone at the door! Your nightstand should promote relaxation after a long day, not scrolling through social media! Electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and TVs delay and disrupt restful sleep due to their release of electromagnetic energy. Beeps, buzzes and even the tiniest standby lights can also wreak havoc with the body’s circadian rhythm, so make sure everything is switched off before you climb into bed.
Incorporating self-care activities into your daily life is important for your mind, body, and soul – especially during the shift of Daylight-Saving Time. Remember to take at least half an hour before bed to enjoy a warm drink, get lost in a book, stretch it out, or indulge in a soothing bath. All of these activities will put you in the right frame of mind for quality shut-eye!