Feel like you’re just getting your sleep routine in check only for daylight saving time to throw things off completely? You’re not alone — coming out of the winter months can leave us all feeling like we need a bit of a recharge, and setting the clocks ahead may wind up messing with our sleep, leaving us feeling tired and even more in need of a reboot. Good news. We’re sharing what you need to know about how to sync your circadian rhythm with daylight-saving time.
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Sleep
Circadi-What? Here’s Why Your Body Clock Matters
You know how the planet runs on a cycle with the four different seasons? Well, you run on a pattern, too, called the circadian rhythm. It’s your internal, 24-hour cycle that operates based on environmental cues like sunlight.
These cues trigger responses such as releasing hormones like melatonin, dropping body temperature before bed, and influencing metabolism & mood. When you have regular sleep and eating patterns, the cycle can run like clockwork. But when it’s thrown out of balance by things like sleep interruptions, or stress, this rhythm can speed up or slow down, causing a number of health concerns:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Metabolic disorders
- Poor digestion
Stress & Our Circadian Rhythm
Let’s talk more about stress. During times of increased stress, the constant release of cortisol throughout the day can confuse your body into never knowing what time of day it is. This causes circadian rhythm issues, thus causing sleep issues, which cycles back into more stress.
It goes both ways. When your circadian rhythm suffers, high-stress levels follow. However, if you can work to regulate your body clock from the start, it might help to reduce some of that stress.
Some signs you may need a circadian rhythm tune-up:
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low alertness
- Trouble with mood and emotions
- Aches & pains
- Digestion issues
5 Ways Tune Up Your Circadian Rhythm With Daylight Saving Time
#1 Hit The Hay an Hour Earlier
Since we’re losing an hour of sleep when Daylight Saving Time begins, getting to bed earlier is a great way to still manage to get the optimal number of sleep hours for our unique body clock.
Hitting the hay an extra hour earlier might aid adjusting to the season change and prevent any further circadian rhythm confusion. If that means you sleep an extra couple of hours, all the better, right?
Pro Tip: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible, including on the weekends. Our body clock thrives off of routines!
#2 Sip on That Morning Cup of Tea Outside
If you have a hard time falling asleep at a reasonable hour at night, it may be beneficial to drink your tea in the morning light or fit in a morning walk. Research shows that getting bright morning light may help with getting to bed earlier, whereas getting light exposure too late in the day can result in you not feeling ready to fall asleep until later in the evening.
#3 Try a Blue Light Blocking App
Here’s the thing: stress already messes with your melatonin levels. And when you combine that with the blue light from your technology devices? It’s basically an anti-melatonin party.
Oh heyyyyyyy, sleep cycle problems.
If you don’t want to give up your late-night phone scrolling yet, at least invest in some blue light blocking glasses or even look up apps like Flux. You can also change the settings on your phone to “night mode,” where it minimizes blue light output.
#4 Do a Guided Sleep Meditation
Hard truth — most of us aren’t great at winding down in the evening. With everything going on in the world and our lives, relaxing might feel like a hard chore. It’s just easier to stress at this point!
The truth is that you have to destress and relax before your body feels safe enough to sleep, so promote some chill vibes with an activity like meditation.
Give these FitOn guided sleep meditations a try:
A favorite in our FitOn community, try this Sleep Yoga Nidra meditation with DeAndre and experience this beautiful system that’s existed for thousands of years. It’s an excellent meditation to support restorative sleep.
This meditation uses a body scan technique to calm down your nervous system so you can have the best night’s rest.
Say peace out to your day and hello to sleep with these soothing, mindful mantras focused on peace and ease.
#5 Snack on Sleep-Supporting Foods
While eating specific foods can’t directly help you fall asleep faster, some foods contain high amounts of nutrients like magnesium that are associated with better snoozes.
Some of these foods include:
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, and pistachios
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Tart cherries
If you eat a balanced, whole foods diet, to begin with, you’re probably already consuming lots of sleep-well foods. Grab those healthy fats and fruits!
Level Out Your Circadian Rhythm & Enjoy Deeper Sleeps
Self-care is more important than ever before. Optimizing our sleep habits is a form of self-care so many of us can improve upon.
Thankfully, leveling out your circadian rhythm plays a huge part in wellness, so either way, you’re bound to see some benefits, such as deeper sleep and lower stress levels.
Good night & sleep tight!