7 Ways To Get Your Body And Mind Acclimated To Daylight Saving Time
Carol Yepes/Getty Images

This past Sunday, clocks sprung forward to exchange more sunlight in the evenings for one less hour of sleep in the morning. While this comes as a fair exchange considering the dreary winter we’ve exited, the shift in time has left some residual sluggishness that’s been difficult to shake. 

For decades, Daylight Saving Time has been proven to have effects on our mind, body, and sleep routines. And although this time has granted us the space to finally thaw off those winter blues and defrost our seasonal depression, it might take more than just a few days to get our bodies acclimated to this change. 

As humans, our bodies are regulated by a 24-hour cycle that determines our sleep patterns and bodily functions, called circadian rhythms. With these rhythms being heavily influenced by light exposure, shifts in darkness and lightness from the morning to evening — like the ones we experience during Daylight Saving Time — can delay our sleep cycle, resulting in more fatigue and drowsiness during the change in time. 

So while the trade-off for extra sunlight during the evenings is one of great optimism, getting to a place where you can fully enjoy these seasonal benefits may not come overnight — but we can help with that. Here are seven ways to get your body and mind back into the swing of things now that the calendar has sprung ahead. 

Spring clean your sleep hygiene. 

When whining down before bed, it’s not uncommon to take a peek at your Twitter timeline to see the latest news about your favorite celebrity or take a few passes on TikTok to get some last-minute laughs in before you turn over for the evening. Still, creating a space for a consistent and reliable evening routine will be the best mode of action when adjusting to the time change; and creating healthy habits is key. If you find yourself drifting from your self-declared bedtime due to social distractions, go for a device-free evening before bed so that not even your most beloved app can get in the way of your beauty rest. 

Take a nap. No, seriously! 

As your body adjusts to sudden moments of drowsiness throughout the day, it’s important to listen to it when it’s requesting a short stint of shut-eye. While not everyone has the ability to take a siesta during the workday, those who are working from home or have a more relaxed schedule can take advantage of early afternoon naps to recharge and give you the boost of productivity you need to tackle the tasks that come with the rest of your day.

Start your evening routine 30 minutes sooner. 

Your schedule might need a bit of an adjustment, just until you feel like yourself again, and that may start by getting a headstart on your morning the night before. Whether you choose to start your evening shower or skincare routine an hour or 30 minutes earlier than usual, the payoff will come when you find yourself in bed, bonnet on, with an extra hour of sleep awaiting you on the other side. 

Incorporate sunlight into your day.  

Exposure to natural sunlight can benefit our internal clock (circadian rhythm) in adjusting to the leap in time and our body’s overall alertness. Not only does daylight boost your overall mood, but taking a walk during your lunch break or doing work near an open window will give your body the signal that daytime is here, and nighttime will be coming soon — getting you back in the rhythm of things the natural way. 

Use the weekend to catch up on sleep.

If this week was rough on you, you are not alone. Studies have shown in the past that the average person experiences 40 minutes less sleep on the Monday after clocks spring forward. So while the fatigue is natural, your weekdays may not give you the time you need to adapt to the new conditions. For that, we look to the weekend. Starting Friday evening, begin to wind down earlier, and from Saturday to Sunday, use your evenings as a time to sleep sooner with melatonin or soft white noise so that once Monday comes around your mind and body will notice the difference. 

Those mid-day lattes may have to wait.

If your morning coffee just didn’t its job in holding you over through the afternoon, cup number two just might have to wait until the next morning. It’s been shown that caffeine intake within six hours of bedtime can disrupt the natural flow of sleep — keeping you awake longer, thus making you groggier in the morning. To stop the cycle, reserve your lattes and cold brew for your AM activities so you can sleep better.  

Push back the early morning meetings. 

In a culture where everything can seem urgent, taking time to ease into your workday may feel unnatural, but it’s better than showing up out of sorts and disheveled. Allowing yourself the time to not rush your way through the morning, but instead, make time for practices like meditation, prayer, or journaling will not only put you in a better mood, but also give you the opportunity to show up as your fully rested self.