When daylight saving time ends on November 5, it means more than dark, groggy mornings and hunger pangs way before your lunch hour. It also means missing sun-filled hours because you’re getting home when it’s pitch dark, since night falls around 5 p.m. But instead of giving up, embrace the change and make a few key adjustments to ease the transition.
1. ADJUST AHEAD OF TIME
As parents know, daylight saving time can present a challenge for kids who have trouble switching to an earlier wake-up or later dinner and bedtime. In the days before the time change, delay your evening meal and routine by 15 minutes, so when the clocks move ahead, the new schedule feels less sudden and more natural. This benefits grown-ups, too.
2. PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE
Plan for groggy mornings by tackling at least one typical a.m. task the night before. For example, pack your gym bag and leave it by the door or make lunch while you’re prepping dinner. These tricks save you from rushing around and forgetting things in the morning.
3. SET ASIDE TIME TO WIND DOWN
An hour before you want to go to sleep, put away phones and laptops, and dim the lights as you complete your pre-bedtime routine. If you find yourself struggling to calm down so early, make time for other soothing rituals, such as a warm bath or reading with a cup of herbal tea.
4. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Caffeine and alcohol can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep easily and slumber deeply throughout the night. Around the time change, reduce your intake of these substances. Skip that extra glass of wine after dinner; if you can’t live without that second coffee, try giving yourself a noontime cut-off for caffeinated beverages.
5. WORK OUT EARLY
Try switching exercise to the morning — a 1-mile run around the neighborhood helps you feel revitalized and less bothered by the shorter days. Even if it’s still dark out for your pre-work workouts, getting to the gym and working out keeps your energy up and routine steady.
6. ENJOY A HOT BREAKFAST
During the summer it’s easy to get by on grab-and-go food. Use this moment to get back in the habit of hot breakfasts that help you charge up naturally and stay full longer. Make fiber-rich oatmeal (swirl in frozen berries for natural sweetness) or eggs, which are packed with healthy omega-3’s, fat and protein.
7. CELEBRATE CITRUS
The vigorous fragrance of citrus can increase mental stimulation and boost production of serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel happy. This is a great reason to enjoy half a grapefruit with your breakfast or squeeze fresh orange juice into a smoothie. In a happy coincidence, peak citrus season arrives with the start of colder weather.
8. KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS AROUND
The clock says 11 a.m., but your stomach screams noon. Ward off this common time-change problem by keeping healthy, portable snacks on hand until your body adjusts. A crunchy apple, package of almonds or a potassium and vitamin-B packed banana boosts energy far better than a sugar-laden muffin that might provide a temporary rush but leave you crashing within hours.
9. STRETCH AWAY GROGGINESS
It’s easy to fall prey to frequent afternoon tired spells right after the clocks change — but more coffee isn’t the answer. Try one of the phone apps that pings you with periodic reminders to get up from the computer. Stimulate your body’s blood flow with simple yoga stretches like a forward bend, take a short but vigorous walk or try a five-minute climb on the office stairs.
10. CELEBRATE THE DARKNESS
The end of daylight saving time signals a new season. Take time to appreciate the joys of late fall and winter: cold mornings perfect for warm sweaters and cozy socks, chilly evenings made for hearty soups and stews and festive gatherings with family and friends. Maybe, you’ll even associate the time change with the start of something wonderful.