“Most people think an hour would be inconsequential,” Czeisler says. “And it’s true that we can adjust. But even that small adjustment does have consequences.”
Though “falling back” gives you a chance to catch up on lost sleep, it can also be a difficult adjustment, says Ramiz Fargo, MD, medical director for the Sleep Disorders Center and a sleep medicine doctor at Loma Linda University Health.
It may also be hard for people with mood disorders, he says. One study showed that hospitals reported an 11% increase in depressive symptoms just after the fall time change. This may be a result of lost daylight, he says.
But there are ways to make the transition easier and increase your chances of taking full advantage of the extra hour. If possible, Fargo says, it is helpful to make slight adjustments to your schedule in the days leading up to the time change. This, he says, could make for a smoother transition.
“Start going to bed 15-20 minutes early in the days beforehand,” he says. “That will help your body get used to the difference.”