Making the switch from daylight saving time back to standard time is easy for some people, and difficult for others. An abrupt one-hour shift in schedule – when clocks “fell back’ an hour – seems simple enough, but it can actually come with some significant drawbacks that are worth addressing.
This fall the switch took place earlier than usual, reaching back into October (October 31), and with days still growing progressively shorter – which they will until right before Christmas – it continues to get darker and darker earlier, and that adjustment can stretch out over several weeks for those already dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
There are a number of reasons why switching to standard time can be difficult. If you keep a fixed daily routine, or if you live in a part of the U.S. where it gets dark particularly early in evening during standard time – around 4 p.m. in some places, then adjusting your daily habits can be difficult. Additionally, if you have trouble sleeping, or if you’re an early riser, then adjusting to the switch can be particularly troublesome.
For those people whose effects from the time shift still linger, it’s not too late to take some measures to help remedy your condition and help get you back on the road to normalcy, even if you still find yourselves having to turn on the lights even an hour or two before eating dinner.
Three Tips for Making the Switch
Avoid screen time before bed so that your ability to fall asleep is not impeded. We especially recommend this for anyone who relishes the extra dark time in the evening, and resist the call of the early morning sun to wake up. It is advisable to turn off all screens (computer, TV, phone, etc.) an hour or two before bed. This will curtail your exposure to blue light (which your mind and body, interprets as sunlight) and thus help reduce disruptions to your circadian rhythms, per uabmedicine.org.
Consider adjusting your wakeup and bedtimes so that they align more closely with the occurrence of sunlight. Your body tends to respond naturally to sunlight by waking up, per psychologytoday.com, so sunlight is worth taking advantage of, if you want to increase your chances of beginning the day fully awake and energized. Simultaneously, going to bed earlier would also be in line with your natural circadian tendencies, since diminished light helps produce melatonin, a hormone that helps initiate sleep, per uabmedicine.org.
Keeping a regular bedtime routine can be helpful when readjusting to either time switch, like when the clocks switch back to daylight saving time in March standard time. Per uabmedicine.org, ritual bedtime preparation can be helpful for initiating sleepiness, which in individual cases might involve reading a book or taking a shower right before bedtime. This can be especially important if you find the early darkness during winter standard time throwing off your ability to go to bed at your regular bedtime.
Three Supplements to Boost Circadian Adaptation
While supplements may not be your first go-to for treating the difficulties that can come with adjusting to standard time, they can indeed help if you use them properly. Following are three supplements that can help you deal with the somewhat-debilitating effects of adjusted clocks:
Melatonin is a natural and commonly-occurring hormone responsible for bringing about sleep, per mayoclinic.org. In addition to being helpful in treating various sleep disorders, melatonin can be useful in bringing about a circadian change conducive to adjusting your bedtime. It is commonly available in supplement form.
Ashwagandha is an Indian traditional medicine that is known for its ability to increase your energy level and boost your ability to resist mental and physical stress, per healthline.com. Considering the fatigue that can come with making a circadian adjustment, as well as the stress that is often coupled with this kind of change, ashwagandha might be the ideal supplement in the morning for someone experiencing tiredness or stress due to the return to standard time. Ashwagandha is also commonly available in supplement form, and it is low-risk for side effects.
Vitamin B6 can also help regulate a sleep/wake cycle through its capacity to help produce melatonin in your body, per hospitalhealth.com.au.