Sleep

11 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

Survive and thrive through the time change!

By: Lexy Parsons

If daylight saving time hits you like a ton of bricks, you’re not alone! In theory, a mere hour time change sounds like no biggie. We spring forward and fall back every year — it should be clockwork by now, right? Well, in actuality, the time change can wreak havoc on our lifestyle as we adjust to the change. In fact, it can impact our mood, sleep, and energy. This can lead to feelings of grogginess, exhaustion, and imbalance — and who wants that!? The good news is that there are simple ways to prepare your body so you can ease into this seasonal transition without losing a wink of sleep (hallelujah). Ahead, we’re sharing how to adjust to daylight saving time with eleven tips and tricks that will help you survive and *thrive* through the time change!

Why Daylight Saving Time Affects Our Body

Before we get into the hacks, why does Daylight saving time affect us so much in the first place?

Well, for starters, most of us (a shocking 35% of American adults) are entering the seasonal time change already sleep-deprived. So when we spring forward and lose that extra hour of sleep, it adds up! Think of it this way — if your body is already running on fumes, there isn’t much energy reserve to pull from. With that said, skimping out on even more sleep will, of course, result in feelings like fatigue and irritability! 

This applies to those who are entering daylight saving time well-rested (bravo), too! Your body likes to remain in a state of balance, especially when it comes to sleep. In fact, your body runs on an internal sleep-wake cycle known as your circadian rhythm. According to research, even acute sleep loss can throw this out of balance (ahem.. daylight savings!).

But, with simple hacks, learning how to adjust to daylight savings is easier than you think. Read on for all you need to know!

11 Hacks to Combat Daylight Saving Time Fatigue

#1 Get to Bed Just a Tad Earlier 

Our number one tip? Prep your body for the time change by adjusting your sleep a week or so before Daylight saving time occurs. Gradually adjusting your sleep will make the transition So. Much. Easier. Trust us on this! And keep in mind, this doesn’t have to be a drastic shift! We know you’re busy — hitting the sheets a mere 10-15 minutes earlier each night will do the trick. Do this until you are going to bed a whole hour earlier. 

And, if you don’t start getting to bed earlier until daylight savings already begins, that’s ok too! Just make a point to try to get to bed just a tad earlier each night to avoid missing out on any of that much-needed sleep! 

#2 Get A Head Start On the Day 

While we’re on the topic of sleep schedules, try adjusting your wake-up time too! We get it, this may sound dreadful if you’re not a morning person. But, hear us out! Similar to your evening routine, waking up 15-30 minutes earlier than usual can reset your circadian rhythm and help your body adapt to the time change.

Plus, there are lots of benefits to getting up early! According to research, early risers are more energized, productive, and tend to have healthier morning habits like eating a nutritious breakfast or squeezing in a sweat. And, since morning people have extra time to spare, they tend to be less stressed!

#3 Embrace the Morning Sunshine

Speaking of mornings, embrace the morning sunshine! Exposure to morning sunlight helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle by increasing cortisol (the hormone that makes us feel alert and energized) and suppressing melatonin (the hormone that makes us feel sleepy). If you’re not a morning person, give this sunshine soak a try! Ideally, you want to absorb the benefits of the sun within 15 minutes of waking.

Some ideas? Enjoy your cup of joe in nature, go for a brisk morning walk, or press play on a FitOn meditation while sitting in the sunshine.

#4 Kickstart the Day with a Nutritious Breakfast

Your morning meal can have a serious impact on your day. Just as the light impacts our circadian rhythm, evidence suggests meal timing can do the same! According to research, long-term breakfast skipping can dysregulate our circadian clock and even affect lipid metabolism. To prevent this, try kicking off your morning with a nutrient-dense breakfast! You’ll boost energy, regulate blood sugar, and send a signal to your brain telling it that it’s time to start the day.

Looking for some easy-prep breakfast ideas? Give these on-the-go options a try!

#5 Load Up On Energizing Whole Foods

You started off strong with a nourishing breakfast, so why not keep that energy flowing throughout the day? Fill your diet with nutrient-dense whole foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, salmon, berries, and sweet potatoes. They’re loaded with energizing nutrients like B vitamins and iron to help you power through your day! Plus, a balanced diet full of complex carbs, protein, fiber, and healthy fats is key when it comes to maintaining your energy. 

RELATED: Always Tired? Your Diet May Be Missing These Nutrients

#6 Skip the Sugary Snacks & Opt For Balance Instead 

Ever notice an increased craving for sugar and hyper-palatable foods when you’re sleep deprived? When you skimp on sleep, your body tries to compensate by obtaining energy through your diet. But, as tempting as they may be, sugary snacks won’t improve your energy or your mood! Yes, you may feel an initial burst of energy as sugar floods your body, but be prepared for the energy crash that’s soon to follow. And in addition to wreaking havoc on your blood sugar and mood, sugary foods are associated with sleep disturbances and poor sleep quality.

Try to keep your snacks balanced with a combo of healthy fats, satiating protein, and fiber. This will help regulate your energy and balance your blood sugar as you adjust to a new sleep schedule!

#7 Keep Caffeine for the A.M.

If you’re looking for an afternoon energy booster, a mid-day cup of coffee or matcha is not the answer! We’re not saying you have to cut caffeine out of your routine, but keep these beverages for the morning. Why? Because caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, meaning it can seriously affect your sleep cycle. You’ll feel a peak energy boost within 30-60 minutes, but it remains in your system for about 5 hours! 

Struggling to quit the caffeine? Try these all-natural energy boosters!

#8 Avoid Afternoon Naps

You might think you’re doing your body a favor by sneaking in an afternoon snooze to compensate for the loss of sleep, but this could actually harm your sleep even more. Afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night, further dysregulating your circadian rhythm. Instead, try adjusting your bedtime and wake-up time (like we mentioned in tips 1 and 2) to help regulate your sleep hormones.

#9 Break a Sweat

Moving your body might be the last thing on your to-do list if you’re feeling tired, but experts suggest it can actually boost energy! And when it comes to supporting sleep, embracing morning movement has shown to be especially beneficial. According to research, exercising in the morning may improve focus and productivity, and enhance energy. 

#10 Avoid Late-Night Screen Time

If you’re trying to regulate your circadian rhythm, try keeping your evenings tech-free. The blue light from your screens (whether it be your TV, phone, or computer) keeps your body in a state of high alert by suppressing melatonin production. Essentially, blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime! Clearly, this can lead to some sleepless nights. Try limiting your screen use 2 hours before bed and leaving all electronics outside of your room.

#11 Bust Some Stress

This is one of our key tips when it comes to surviving the transitionary period of daylight saving time! Stress is one of the leading causes of sleep disturbances, so incorporating stress-busting techniques like meditation, journaling, and breathing exercises can do wonders for your sleep.

Give yourself some extra TLC with a self-care-centric evening routine. Wind down your evening with a calming yoga flow, a lavender-infused Epsom salt bath, or a warming cup of tea.

Spring Ahead with Ease

With a little preparation, set your clocks and spring ahead with ease. Gradually adjusting your sleep habits, incorporating nutrient-dense foods, avoiding stimulants, and giving your body some love with movement and mindfulness are simple and effective tricks. While it may take a little adjusting, use these tips to avoid disrupting your sleep! And while these healthy habits will certainly help you adjust during daylight saving time, they will also benefit your sleep cycle year-round.