It’s that time of year again… The time when darkness and nights come a touch sooner (okay, much sooner). With light ending just as quickly as it seemed to begin, this can spark the urge to cuddle back in bed at 5:00p. (Just me?)
So, how do we keep moving forward despite our clocks falling back? Fortunately, there are a few ways to find the light (even if imaginary) this time of year. In fact, they can even be applied throughout the entire year!
If you are dreading those dark evenings, you are not alone. Use these 6 tips to handle daylight savings time like the champ you are!
- Set a Sleep Schedule
A majority of the population, myself included, struggles with achieving the recommended 7 to 9 hours of quality shut-eye each night. Add the extra layer of a time change and the struggle can be extra real. That being said, a sleep schedule might just be more important than ever to help regulate sleep and wake cycles. And, luckily for me and you, setting one up does not have to be overly complicated!
Start by strategizing when you need (not necessarily want) to wake up. Also consider a wake time that allows you sufficient time to comfortably get ready, as waking up feeling rushed can set a negative tone for the day. For example, if you need to be out the door or in your home office by 8:00a, aim to hit the hay no later than 11:00p. This helps ensure sleeping an average of 8 hours while giving you an hour to get ready, sip on that coffee, eat a nourishing breakfast, walk the dog, what have you.
- Listen to Your Body
“Listen to what your body needs,” says Coach Julia. “If you regularly go to bed at 10:00p and are ready for bed at 9:00p one night, allow yourself that rest!” Since some days can be more demanding and exhausting than others, tuning into what your body needs and turning in early is A-okay!
- Light Up the Room
Natural light from the sun might dim early, but light, in general, does not necessarily have to. When the dark comes, turn on indoor lighting. While it might be artificial, the light can help slow down those early evening yawns and sleepy eyes. I hardly turn on the lights in my house (I promise I’m no vampire!), so this is something we can work on together if you don’t already do it!
- Make Exercise a Priority
Yearlong and throughout the lifespan, exercise proves to boost physical and mental health. But making exercise a priority is especially important when this time of year comes! The best part? Exercise does not have to be totally structured (though why miss out on a DFT session?) and even a quick 10-minute walk can do the trick. If you already struggle with insomnia, though, perhaps a late-night sweat sesh and revving up that adrenaline might not be the best idea.
- Rethink That (Caffeinated & Alcoholic) Drink
As soon as my eyes open, I step out of bed, walk downstairs, and get that coffee brewing in my French press. There is nothing more soothing than sipping on jolt juice to start the day. (In my opinion, at least…)
But refilling that coffee cup throughout the day, especially in the latter half, might not be the wisest of choices. For many, caffeine intake in the late afternoon and evening hours can interfere with nightly sleep cycles. So if you do consume products with caffeine, including coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc., try to keep their intake to the morning or late afternoon hours or switch to decaf varieties.
But let’s not forget about alcohol and the consequences that nightcap can have on sleep… A glass (or a few) of wine may lead to quick shuteye, but the quality of sleep can take the backseat and leave you waking up groggy the next morning.
- See the Light in the Dark
Okay… This suggestion is somewhat figurative, but it’s helped me quite a bit getting past those dark nighttime slumps throughout the fall, winter, and early spring. (And even now amidst this wild year we’ve all endured…) I try to see the light in the dark, the positives in negatives, and have things to look forward to on my radar. This could be some time spend with loved ones over the holidays, a new goal to tackle, or simply just some self-care you deserve! Besides, enjoying quality time with my new niece is just as special now on darker evenings as it would be on lighter ones!