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Fall into Healthy Sleep Habits

 

The fall season is here and what better time to snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket and warm cider while enjoying the changing leaves outside? The chillier weather can also bring about a sleep-altering season. Read on to discover ways to sleep better during the fall months.

couple walking during autumn

Prepare for the End of Daylight Savings Time

In November, Daylight Savings Time ends, which sleep physicians see as a possible conflict between your body’s circadian rhythms and the expectations of society.

“The time change is kind of a society-imposed jet lag,” said Nathaniel Watson, MD, Co-Director of the HMC Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Washington. “Your circadian rhythms will cause you to want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than your external environment,” said Dr. Watson.

Ease yourself into the transition by going to sleep and waking 10-15 minutes later each day in the week prior to the end of Daylight Savings Time to help your body adjust. You may also try melatonin supplements to help shift the timing of your sleep. Be sure to also get a dose of sunlight in the morning or try light therapy. Both help your body sync with the new sleep schedule.

Read more: Food & Supplements That Help You Sleep Better.

Resist the Urge to Turn Up the Heat

Most people struggle to sleep in warm rooms, which is why summer can be a tough season to get a good’s night of sleep. Fall kick-starts cooler temperatures, which can help you to get a good night’s rest. Turn down the temperature at night, especially while also switching out the thin summer linens for thicker blankets and down comforters. It's hard to not have seasonal nostalgia for a warm bed in a cool season! Nothing is better on a Friday night than a warm comforter, hot chocolate, and snuggling with your partner.

Keep reading: How to Sleep Better During the Winter.

Enjoy a Heartier Diet, But Not Too Close to Bedtime

With the arrival of the fall season comes heartier meals. Potatoes, squash, pumpkin and root vegetables are healthy, but denser. Typically, heavier meals and more carbohydrate-dense food packed together in one meal, mean that you nod off faster, but beware! Digestion is just harder when you are horizontal! You run the risk of having your sleep disrupted by acid reflux and heartburn. Try to put several hours between your last meal and going to bed.

Make a Plan to Stay Active Indoors

Most people find themselves spending more time indoors during the cooler months. Lack of movement can make the body more tired due to less oxygen and blood flow pumping through the body. Keep your energy up by staying active with such activities as walking, taking outdoor hikes, and yoga. These can all help to transition the body from the summer to fall.

 

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