Is this the Last Year we Fall Back to Standard Time? Make it Carefree with These Tips

There’s been a lot of chatter in Twenty Twenty-Three about Daylight Savings time. The big question is, is this the last year that we will fall back?

For many Americans during the last 100 plus years, we’ve bounced back and forth between Daylight Savings and Standard Time each fall and spring, much to the chagrin of some psychologists and sleep experts. They have long advocated for the elimination of seasonal time change, citing health concerns and the impact to emotional wellbeing. Many others prefer to change the clocks to receive maximum benefits each season. Might the experts finally get their way? There has been some legislative motion toward this end, but currently, it’s still a wait and see.

With fall back to Standard Time right around the corner, I’ll share my tips to help make this November’s transition as carefree as possible:

Keep your mealtimes consistent

Eating patterns affect our sleep. One of the best ways to ease your transition is simply to eat at the time that you are used to eating. So, if you typically eat breakfast at 7:30, on the morning after we turn back our clocks, eat at 7:30. Should you awaken an hour earlier than typical due to the time change, that’s okay. Leverage the opportunity and take a morning stroll. This will benefit you in a number of ways (keep reading!), but to the point of keeping consistent mealtimes, this is a great and healthy way to spend an hour before it’s time for breakfast. 

Go to bed and get up at the same time

It’s a fact, our bodies run best on schedules. Starting the Sunday night after the time change, do yourself a favor and honor your bedtime. While it may be tempting to alter timing, a consistent bedtime is the fastest way to adjust to the clock. If you are one that historically has difficulty transitioning, you might try gradually shifting your sleep and wake times by 20 minutes each night for the three nights prior to falling back to Standard Time. This will allow your body to adjust more slowly, and this might be easier on you than tackling the transition in one night. 

Practice healthy bedtime habits

Change can be stimulating, so make extra effort to slow down your body and mind. I suggest to avoiding alcohol on the day before and the day that we turn back the clocks. If you drink caffeine, do so moderately and only during the morning hours. An hour before bed, put down your phone or other electronics. Beyond what may be engaging content on screen, the light itself is disruptive, providing the same type of stimulation as sunlight. Instead, take a warm bath or shower, and curl up with a good book. When it’s time for bed, take several slow, deep breaths and put aside any thoughts you have until the morning.

Sunlight is your friend

Yes, like most, coffee gets me going in the morning. But in terms of stimulation, nothing beats sunlight. Try to get outside a least once a morning. This will help reset your internal clock to the new normal.  

Exercise, for the win

On any given week, a routine of regular exercise plays a crucial role in keeping us healthy, reducing anxiety, relieving stress, improving our cognitive function and delivering a good-mood boost. The importance of exercise is only amplified on a week of transition and change. Knowns as the four “happy hormones”, exercise increases levels of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, which will help provide you with a boost of energy during the daytime and can lead to better sleep at nighttime. 

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