Daylight Savings Survival Guide

With daylight savings comes a big disruption to our routine. Now we have to contend with short days, dark evenings and messed up sleep habits. Along with daylight savings are the long, cold days of winter just around the corner. The chilly weather and lack of light contributes to many people feeling more tired and depressed this time of year. Studies show that daylight savings is a big contributor to many  health problems becoming exacerbated come November.

Even if you don’t feel blue this time of the year, daylight savings can still greatly mess up the habits we’re into. Sleep schedules, eating times, and exercise routines can all become quickly unhinged after the sudden change in daylight. If you’re struggling to adjust after daylight savings, follow these 5 tips to get back on track in no time.

1. Keep up good sleep habits

Woman sleeping

Often time daylight savings throws off our sleep schedule. Whether it’s because we stayed up extra late the day before anticipating an extra hour of sleep, or just can’t get to bed at the same time we used to because it gets dark so early, many of us feel extra tired and have trouble sleeping this time of the year.

Around daylight savings, it is especially important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Try to consistently get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Even on the weekend, try to keep your bedtime within half an hour every night. This will allow your body to fall into a rhythm and have a more consistent night's sleep. Don’t drastically change when you go to bed or wake up around daylight savings. Try to be constant and your body will adjust faster.

2. Have a healthy pre-bedtime routine

What we do in the hour before we go to bed has a massive impact on the quality of our sleep. With sunset falling early in the evening, it can be tempting to watch TV or scroll social media until we feel tired. However, using electronics up until bedtime, especially during daylight savings, hinders your ability to fall asleep. That’s because high-intensity light suppresses the secretion of melatonin.

Woman laying on bed with computer

Reading before bed will help you get better-quality sleep, making your feel more rested throughout the day. Limiting caffeine intake and high-intensity exercise in the hours before bedtime will also set you up for a good night's sleep.

3. Exercise regularly

Woman planking at gym

With darker days and chillier air, it can be hard to feel motivated to work out this time of the year. The rapid decrease in evening sunlight after daylight savings can make working out even harder as those are the hours most people have free after work. Exercise helps us have more energy, feel less tired, and sleep better at night. Getting into a solid exercise routine before daylight savings and continuing through the change will help the transition go smoothly.

4. Get outside

Woman walking outside in fall

It can be even harder to get outside during these cold, short days. However, getting sunlight and fresh air every day is extremely important for our mental and physical well-being. Less light means lower serotonin levels along with decreased mood and energy. Try to go for a short walk every day or sit outside when it’s not too cold. Using a lightbox or alarm light will help alleviate symptoms of low-light exposure if your routine makes it hard to get outside when it's sunny.

5. Eat healthy

Try to stick to a consistent, healthy diet throughout daylight savings. We truly are what we eat. Having a healthy diet rich in protein and fresh vegetables will help elevate our mood and increase our energy. A good diet can help alleviate the main symptoms of transitioning from daylight savings. Add a couple healthy options to each meal during this time of the year.

Chicken, lettuce, and mashed potatoes on a plate

The darker days often lead us to eat dinner earlier and get hungry later in the night leading to snacking. Keep your routine the same, and if you adjust it move your mealtime back by 15 minutes a day to help your body get used to the transition. Try to eat healthy protein so you will feel fuller longer.

Daylight savings can be a struggle. With many dark, cold days on the horizon, now is a great time to develop healthy habits. Follow these 5 survival guide tips to help yourself transition from daylight savings today.

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