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'Falling Back' Doesn't Have to Knock You Down

By HERWriter
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'Falling Back' Doesn't Have to Knock You Over Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

The autumn time change is upon us. Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 will be the time to "fall back" for most Americans, with the exceptions of citizens of Arizona and Hawaii.

The majority of us manage the effects of the time change over a period of a few days or weeks. But it can be another story for those who are already having trouble sleeping at night, or for those who struggle with seasonal affect disorder (SAD).

In a Nydailynews.com article, Dr. Marlynn Wei, a psychologist in private practice in the East Village, New York agreed that depression and SAD are often the result of the shorter days and longer nights.

After the time change, we should get out in the sun as much as possible. Wei also suggested exercise and light therapy with light boxes.

Dr. Lisa Shivers, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine, said in a Chicagotribune.com article that circadian rhythms can be disrupted by the lack of daylight.

For people in their twenties, Shivers suggested consciously making adjustments to their sleeping schedules and dimming lights a few hours before going to bed.

For seniors her advice was quite different. Putting on more lights before going to bed could help to keep them from going to bed too early and disrupting their normal sleeping habits.

Dr. Richard Kern, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park said that going to bed in a quiet darkened room and leaving electronic devices at the door can help.

Dr. Shelby Harris, Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx said in the Nydailynews.com article that all our hormones are affected by a time change.

Some people may get headaches. People may find themselves having sleep difficulties, or overeating.

Harris suggested making changes a few days before the time change hits, staying up 20 minutes later than usual. In fact, Harris said, if you can turn your clocks back earlier in the weekend, the adjustment may be more gradual and less of a shock.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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