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How to make daylight saving time easier

Flowers are blooming and time is springing forward. With daylight saving time around the corner, do you know how to make the transition a little easier on your body?

“It certainly has a physiological effect on the body,” says Piedmont family medicine physician Joel Garrison, D.O. The start or end of daylight saving time can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm.

While the effects aren’t as pronounced as they might be after a flight across multiple time zones, you may still be feeling groggy for a few days as daylight saving time starts, Dr. Garrison says.

“Your body naturally produces melatonin [in response] to certain cues,” he explains. When those cues change thanks to shifts in daylight, for example, you’ll probably need some time to readjust.

Here are his tips for feeling better during the time change.

  1. Start altering your sleep cycle in advance.

“When it comes to daylight saving time, you definitely want to plan ahead,” Dr. Garrison says. For example, you might start going to bed a little earlier each evening the week before the time change. That way, skipping forward an hour will feel less jarring.

  1. Focus on improving your overall sleep routine.

When it comes to sleep hygiene, people tend to make some frequent mistakes that prevent a good night’s rest.

“One of the biggest ones is screen time,” Dr. Garrison says. An hour and a half or so before bedtime, he adds, “make sure you’re not just sucked into your phone.” That goes for TV too – the light can interfere with your normal sleep cycles.

Remember to avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon, and try to slow down before bedtime using techniques like meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness.

“Give your brain time to unwind,” Dr. Garrison says.

  1. Try light therapy.

Light-immersion therapy can be useful for some people, Dr. Garrison says. You can buy lamps online that can help regulate your melatonin levels.

  1. Be mentally prepared.

Even if you’re unable to budget for additional sleep the week before the time change, simply accepting that you’ll be slower than usual for a few days can be helpful.

If you find yourself struggling with tiredness as daylight saving time begins, Dr. Garrison says, that’s OK.

“You don’t want to be stressed about it or put additional weight on your mind,” he says

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