Recently a friend posted to social that the time change was setting him back (#sorrynotsorry) in his still somewhat fledgling stage of morning personhood. He asked for tips from daybreak pros on how to navigate back to feeling alive and human after the jolt that is Standard Time with its pre-6 a.m. sunrise and 5:30 p.m.-ish sunset.
The medical professionals at UAB Medicine recommend starting in advance by going to bed 30 minutes earlier each day for about three days prior to falling back. Additionally, they advise “Be consistent with eating, social, bed and exercise times, too. Raising your body’s core temperature can make it harder to fall asleep, so avoid heavy workouts within four hours of bedtime.”
But, what if it’s too late, like for my friend? I’ll let you read the rest of the UAB advice yourself by following the above link, but I also thought I’d share my advice, in case it’s helpful.
First and foremost, it’s possible to just roll with it until you adjust. At some point, your body will reset and get back into rhythm.
Second, if that’s too painful — and you haven’t already— consider starting a morning routine. To begin, do something simple like placing a glass or bottle of water near your bed at night. When you wake up the next morning, stretch a little while still in bed, sit up and drink the water. Even a seemingly small habit or routine like drinking a glass of water gives your body cues as to what’s next. Aka getting up and starting the day.
(It’s also important to rehydrate in the morning, so win-win.)
As I told my friend, I’m not sure how long it took for the routine of drinking a glass of water as soon as I awakened became habitual for me, but eventually it did and now I don’t even think about it. This and other “automations” that I’ve added to my routine over time have made a big difference in how my mornings and the rest of my day play out. But starting small is key. If it’s not a stretch and water, perhaps something else will work for you. Experiment and do what makes sense for you. Eventually though, you’ll adjust to the time change. Fingers crossed that it happens well before we spring forward again.
Do you have a tip for adjusting to the time change? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.