How to Savor Your Extra Hour When Daylight Saving Ends
Easing Into the End of Daylight Saving Time
This Sunday night, something peculiar—though not unexpected—will take place in most parts of North America. At 2 a.m., while most of us are fast asleep, daylight saving time will end and our clocks will jump backward by an hour.
Most of us know the drill. We’ve been observing this tiny time warp twice a year for our entire lives. We usually grumble as we “spring ahead” in March and lose a precious hour with our pillows, then reap our reward in November when we blissfully “fall back” into bed for an extra hour of sleep.
Thankfully, we now find ourselves nearing the eve of the more popular daylight saving transition. Instead of prepping for a bout of morning fatigue, we’re considering how to invest the extra hour we’ll gain before dawn. Not sure of what to do with this year’s windfall? Here’s our best advice for savoring the moment.
If You’ve Been Fighting Fatigue
Many of us feel such constant pressure to be productive that fatigue has become our baseline. We’re balancing household chores, after-school activities, and stolen moments of self-care on top of our already packed schedules. Not surprisingly, according to the CDC, we’re a sleep-deprived society—one in three Americans regularly clock less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours a night.
If just the thought of “wasting” your extra hour in bed sets you on edge, then that’s your cue to stay tucked in. While a single hour of sleep is unlikely to refill your energy stores, it might provide a much-needed reminder of how good it feels to rest. If your circumstances allow it, turn off your alarms and notifications and enjoy rediscovering your natural waking time. It’s no accident that daylight saving time ends on a Sunday.
If You’re an Avid Early Bird
For those early risers with a precisely set inner alarm, sleeping in simply may not be in the cards. That’s okay, there are still plenty of ways you can make your extra hour indulgent. Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee in silence as your family sleeps or take a leisurely sunrise stroll through your neighborhood, do your best to minimize distractions and focus on a single simple pleasure for one hour.
A Few Tips to Help You Regain Your Rhythm
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, your body contains an incredibly accurate internal clock. Known as your circadian rhythm, it ticks away each day and controls the release of hormones that regulate your mood, hunger, and sleep. Because this inner timekeeper is sensitive to external cues, it’s easily thrown out of whack. Here are a few ways to stay on track after this week’s time change.
- Your internal clock is mainly regulated by one very important external cue—sunlight. Make it a point to get some sunshine in the morning and throughout the day to help your circadian rhythm reset.
- Your feeding and fasting cycles also contribute to your body’s sense of time. Try to eat your meals on your usual schedule, even though it will feel like you’re eating an hour late. It may help to keep a few snacks on hand to curb any hunger pangs.
- You may find that the last hour of your workday feels particularly long after the time change. If you can, save some light tasks for the end of the day until your body adjusts.
- If you usually walk, run, or bike in the evenings, make sure to plan for an earlier sunset. Your normally well-lit route may be much darker, so be sure to wear lights or reflective accessories when you head out.
- The darker evenings can be a downer for some. Plan for evening activities that will add a little post-sunset brightness, whether that means a bubble bath, a home cooked meal, or family game night.
- If your sleep schedule is disrupted, you might consider taking a low dose of melatonin in the evening for a brief time. This hormone helps regulate your circadian clock by signaling to the body that it’s dark and time for sleep. Though melatonin is sold over the counter as a dietary supplement, it can cause drowsiness and may interfere with some medications, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist first. Our pharmacists are available to talk over any supplements or medications you’re curious about via phone, text, or in-app chat.
Give It Time
Thankfully, the time change for daylight saving is fairly minor. Many of us will savor our extra hour of sleep, then continue our day feeling unaffected. But if you’re among those who do experience adverse effects, don’t be alarmed. With the help of these tips, your body should adjust to the new cycle of dark and light over the coming days.
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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.