After weeks of hibernating and spending time loathing the frigid winter conditions, Daylight Saving Time (DST) has finally come to our rescue to deliver a much-needed reprieve. On Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m., we’ll be gifted with the opportunity to reset our physical (and internal) clocks and “spring forward” into the season ahead. And sure, we’ll initially lose out on an hour of sleep that day, but what we’re gaining in extended daylight and recuperation is well worth the exchange.
Daylight Saving Time is a seasonal adjustment that can feel like temporary jet lag. It generally affects our sleep patterns, mood, and productivity and can throw off our daily routines. While the change may leave us feeling groggy and disoriented while we shake the sleep from our eyes, a little bit of provocativeness can help us better ease into this new time change to make the most of our days.
When DST begins this year, our bodies will feel it first. We all have an internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, hormone production, and other bodily functions. When we "spring forward" and lose an hour of sleep, our circadian rhythm is disrupted, and our bodies may struggle to adjust to the new schedule. This can result in feelings of fatigue, moodiness, and difficulty concentrating in the first few days of the time shift. Thankfully, with longer and brighter days ahead of us, adjusting to the change can be a smooth ride with a little preparation.
In the case of gradually settling into the new time change, we’ve got you covered. To kick off daylight saving, we’ve put together a few tips to get you prepped to spring forward and get ahead of the clock.
Make Small Adjustments Now:
If you’re wondering when the best time to start bracing yourself for the time change is, the answer is: right now. The more leeway you give yourself to gradually adjust your sleep schedule and daily routine to the time change, the better. Adjust your bedtime and meal time by 15-30 minutes each night leading up to the time shift to slowly give your body the notice that a new schedule is on the horizon. It may feel like you’re body will already know it’s coming, but any extra prep you give yourself, your body will thank you for.
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Start Your Day With the Sun:
When daylight saving begins, how you start your day will make all the difference. Early exposure to sunlight can help regulate our circadian rhythms and act as a great way to get your body to adapt to the new range of daylight and time change. Going on a morning walk, sunbathing at sunrise, or simply opening up your blinds to let natural light in can be a few easy ways to get your internal clock reset and ready to take on the day.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine:
The best days typically start the night before. So when it comes to daylight saving time, getting your bedtime routine on lock can signal to your body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Try to establish a relaxing bedtime routine that includes activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing deep breathing or meditation. This can help you fall asleep more easily and adjust to the new time change.
Awaken Your Mind and Body:
Embrace the power of daylight saving as an opportunity to revitalize your fitness routine and mindfulness practices. This new season is an amazing opening to awaken your senses as your body shakes off the frost, as well as to warm up your body from the inside out. So tap into it. By prioritizing regular exercise and incorporating self-care throughout your day, you'll not only elevate your physical health and align with the change that’s in the air. Remember to allow yourself ample time to wind down before bedtime, meditate, and let the magic of being in the present do wonders on both your body and mind.
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Tweak Your Eating Schedule:
When it comes to daylight saving prep, even the smallest adjustments to your dinner time can make a difference. Remember, this time change is tricky and can make us feel foggy in our approach to the way we normally incorporate our habits and routine. So give yourself the advantage by adjusting your dinnertime three days in advance. By doing so, you can help your body smoothly adapt to the shift in time.
Small changes can make a big difference in how you feel, so take control of your habits and be mindful of when and how you nourish yourself.
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