Spring Forward: 7 Tips to Help You Adjust to Daylight Savings Time

Follow these simple steps to help your body and mind adjust to the time change.

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Posted in , Mar 11, 2021

Alarm clock and dandelion flowers

Daylight savings time kicks off in just a few days, which means we’ll be losing an hour of precious sleep as we roll our clocks forward. This often leaves many people feeling tired and groggy for a few days—and even weeks—following the time shift. For some, this time change can even trigger underlying health issues. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to adjust more smoothly.

Minimize the effects of daylight savings with these seven easy suggestions:

Go to bed earlier
Slowly adjust your sleep schedule to ease your body into the time change. Start your nighttime routine 15 to 30 minutes earlier than usual. This will give your body time to make up for the lost hour and allow it to gradually shift into your new sleep schedule.

Get active
We all know being physically active is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but exercising can be especially helpful during daylight savings. Regular exercise can promote the quality of sleep you get throughout the night by reducing sleep onset, or the time it takes to fall asleep. Try to maintain a three-hour window between your workout and bedtime to give your body ample time to cool down before going to bed.

Start a new habit
When losing an hour of sleep, it’s easy to make up for it the following morning. This can only make it more difficult for us to adjust in the long run. Instead of sleeping in an hour longer, use the disruption to your advantage by introducing a new habit into your schedule. Adding a 30-minute meditation, reading a book or squeezing a short journaling session into your routine can make your mornings—and days—more productive.

Be mindful of what and when you eat
Daylight savings can interfere with your regular meal schedule, making you hungry at unusual times. Eating healthy snacks and limiting the amount of food you eat before bed can help regulate the sudden schedule shift. Drink plenty of liquids, but be sure to avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon and evening.

Get some sun
Now that the sun will rise an hour earlier, you can get some sunshine early in the morning to soak up some vitamin D and switch off the sleep hormone, melatonin. You can also let sunlight into your room every morning to help “reset” your circadian rhythm, a natural process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. Spend time outdoors in the evening by tending to your garden or going for a socially distanced walk in your neighborhood.

Unwind
Slow your body down, preferably before bed, to allow for a good night’s sleep. Lay back and relax by taking a warm bath or listening to soothing sounds or music. Keep your room or house cool to reduce your body’s core temperature, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep.

Avoid late-night screen time
Although watching TV may seem like a good way to unwind, it can stimulate your brain, making it difficult to fall asleep. Electronics can also hinder melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. Replace your phone, tablet, or computer before bedtime with a book or devotional.

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