How to Adjust to the Time Change as Daylight Savings Ends
By: Valeria Ramos
As daylight savings time ends and we set our clocks back one hour, it can be difficult to adjust to darker evenings while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While the time change may offer the promise of more rest, it also marks the beginning of colder days with less sunlight, impacting our physical and mental health.
To help you adapt to the time change and make the most of longer evenings, we’ll explore tips and insights that can support you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this transition.
But first, let’s cover how the time change impacts our health:
How the End of Daylight Savings Can Impact Our Health
The end of daylight savings time can have significant impacts on our health and well-being due to the disruption in our daily routines and exposure to natural light. This includes:
- Disrupted Sleep: The time change can disrupt our sleep schedules, leading to difficulty falling asleep or waking up earlier. This can result in sleep deprivation and grogginess.
- Less Exposure to Natural Light: Shorter daylight hours mean less exposure to natural sunlight, which is essential for mood regulation and vitamin D production. This can lead to a dip in mood and energy levels.
- Risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Limited exposure to daylight in the fall and winter months can contribute to the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression associated with the changing seasons.
- Decreased Physical Activity: With less daylight available for outdoor activities, people may engage in less physical exercise, which can negatively impact physical health and fitness.
- Safety Concerns: The early onset of darkness can pose safety risks for commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists, leading to an increase in accidents and safety hazards.
- Circadian Rhythm Disruption: The shift in time can disrupt our circadian rhythms, resulting in temporary sleep disturbances, fatigue, and an overall sense of being out of sync with the natural light-dark cycle.
5 Ways to Adjust to the End of Daylight Savings
1. Soak Up the Last Rays of Sunlight
While the days are growing shorter and darkness descends earlier, try to take advantage of the remaining sunlight. Spend at least 15 minutes outdoors during daylight hours to get fresh air and a dose of natural light. Exposure to the sun is essential for maintaining a balanced circadian rhythm, even as the days get shorter.
2. Prioritize Nutrient-Dense Foods
With the change in time and approaching holidays, it can be tricky to maintain a healthy diet. However, prioritizing nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains will provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs during this time. Good nutrition will help you maintain your energy and health as the days darken earlier.
3. Continue Regular Exercise
Don’t let the cold days and dark nights discourage you from getting a workout in! Physical activity is essential for maintaining your well-being during the time change. Regular exercise helps elevate your mood, boost energy levels, and improve your sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, using the daylight hours for outdoor activities when possible.
4. Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule
While we may gain an extra hour of sleep when daylight savings ends, it’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends, to support your body’s internal clock. Create a relaxing bedtime routine that helps you unwind and ensures a restful night’s sleep, especially as the nights become longer.
5. Opt for Healthier Energy Sources
If you find yourself needing more energy boosts throughout the day, consider swapping caffeine for cleaner sources of energy like matcha, green tea, or L-theanine. Herbal tea, a brisk walk, staying hydrated, and healthy snacks like nuts or fresh fruit can also provide bursts of energy without the drawbacks of excessive caffeine consumption.
Make the Most of Every Season
As we adapt to the change in time and seasons, it’s essential to prioritize our well-being. By following these tips, partaking in fun fall activities, and embracing cozy nights, you can make this a positive and productive time before the new year. Above all, don’t forget to listen to your body and rest when you need it!