It’s that time of year again! Daylight Savings Time is on November 1st this year. Your clocks will jump backward an hour, giving you some extra sleep, and giving you some extra light for your mornings. However, for some people this is a tough adjustment mentally and physically. It may be tougher to get to the gym in the evening as it will start to get darker earlier. And some may notice different effects on their mood as there is more darkness during the day and less natural sunlight. Fortunately, you can keep the overall grogginess away, and train yourself to stay on a consistent sleep and workout schedule, with some prep and some extra motivation. Read our tips below!
Slowly adjust your sleep schedule before the clocks change. If you have a really tough time twice a year when the clocks change, try to plan ahead. Gradually adjust sleep and wake times two to three days before the change by shifting bedtime 15 to 20 minutes each night. This helps your body make gradual shifts before the hour change and lets your body more slowly adjust.
Get more natural light! Go outside and get exposure to morning sunlight on the days after the time change to help regulate your internal clock. Having shorter daylight hours affects our mood and energy levels, decreasing serotonin, a chemical in your brain that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. Make time to take a morning or early afternoon walk outside when the sun is out. Make sure you get outside on those nicer fall or winter days! Also incorporate Vitamin D into your daily supplements if you feel you are not getting enough natural sunlight.
Slowly adjust your meal schedule. If you’re used to a specific meal schedule, daylight savings can throw you off by making you hungry at times you don’t normally eat. Eat healthy snacks as you adjust to the time change, and be careful not to eat too much before bed; this can distrust your sleep as well. Also try and limit alcohol intake. If your alcohol consumption increases, your quality of sleep will decline making it harder to adjust.
Keep up with your exercise routine! This is a biggie. Exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but can be especially helpful during this time change. Exercise promotes energy through the release of serotonin. If you are finding it harder to make it to the gym or workout in the evening due to the sun setting earlier in the day, try to adjust your sleep schedule to allow yourself time for a morning workout. This will ensure you are getting more natural sunlight, while also getting a good workout in!
Rise & Shine- Your body automatically responds to the natural switch from day to night, so try to amplify this effect. In the morning, get right up and open your blinds. Still dark outside? Turn on some bright lights to tell your body it’s time to wake up. You can use a light therapy box or an alarm light that brightens as you wake up. When you get closer to your usual bedtime, dim the lights, turn off the T.V. and other devices, and only get in bed when you’re ready to sleep. These slight adjustments will clue your body into a new schedule.
Follow these tips to help you get through daylight savings without missing a beat!