Spring forward, fall back.
Some of us look forward to turning the clocks back in the fall and “gaining” that extra hour, while others eagerly anticipate turning back the clock and getting longer days in the spring.
Forward or back, many of us have a difficult adjustment to the time change.
As parents of young children and teachers everywhere can agree, sometimes time change can be rough.
Here's our survival guide to help you get through the first few days of the time change:
Get a Head Start
Who says you have to change your whole daily routine all at once?
If you (or your kids) have trouble adjusting when the time changes, ease into it.
Start shifting your schedule four to six days in advance.
Adjust your routine by 10 to 15 minutes each night. Then, by the time you need to reset the clock, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Cut Down on the Caffeine
Coffee tends to be the go-to survival tool for the shifting clocks at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.
But increasing your caffeine consumption isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with the time change.
Too much caffeine can make sleep problems worse.
Caffeine can interfere with the timing of your natural body clock, and even one cup of coffee within six hours of your bedtime could reduce your sleep by an hour.
Try to avoid the extra-large lattes as you adjust to the time change.
Getting plenty of quality sleep is key to surviving the time change with your sanity intact.
- Do: Sleep when your body is ready
- Do: Take a hot bath or shower an hour before bed
- Do: Unwind with a good book before you go to sleep
- Don’t: Increase your coffee consumption
- Don’t: Use your smartphone one hour before bed
- Don’t: Oversleep, no matter what the clock says
It can be tempting to take advantage of an extra hour of sleep. Or to oversleep to make up for "losing" an hour. But don’t give in.
Stick to your routine. Your body will adjust naturally after a few days, and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
During the time change, it’s easy to fall out of the healthy eating habits you’ve worked so hard to build.
The forced change in your sleeping pattern can affect your appetite and cravings more than anything else, especially for sweets and fatty snacks.
What does that mean for your healthy eating routine?
It could make it harder than ever to stay on track.
Whether you end up sleeping too much or too little during time change, one thing is clear:
Disruptions to your sleep schedule can slow your metabolism.
Stick with your healthy habits. A bit of meal prep could be just the thing to help you overcome the junk-food temptation that comes with the changing of the clocks.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
If you’re a parent, you know how important an established bedtime routine can be to help your kids get good sleep.
But bedtime routines are highly effective for adults, too.
Your pre-bed routine can be as straightforward or as complicated as you like. The important thing is that it works for you and gets you in the sleep zone.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take a warm bath or shower 1-2 hours before bed
- Indulge in a skincare ritual
- Enjoy a cup of your favorite (decaf) herbal tea
- Catch up on some fun reading
A routine can help you get more — and better — sleep. And it's actually good for your overall health, too.
Reprioritize Good Sleep Habits
If there is one benefit Daylight Savings Time brings, it’s this:
Use the time change as a catalyst for re-prioritizing the importance of sleep. Make good sleep habits a priority during time change and all year long and you'll get the sleep you need to stay healthy, well, and productive.