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5 Hacks to Help You Deal with Daylight Saving Time

A woman's hand adjusting the time on a clockface.
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The shift from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time (and vice versa) tends to throw a lot of us off. Here’s how to avoid DST messing with your routine and your mood.

Whether it’s an extra hour of sunshine after work in the summer or an extra hour of sunshine early in the morning in the winter the change over from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time is always a hassle and leaves people feeling a bit off. Kids especially don’t do well with it (which is why we have a whole separate list of hacks just for them!)

For adults though, we’ve got some hacks below you can implement to make it through this transition unscathed.

Wake Up at the Same Time

Keep your waking time the same in the days leading up to Sunday morning and two days after. The experience of “losing” an hour in the spring and “gaining” an hour in the fall really throws people off. Because you don’t, biologically speaking, lose or gain anything. It’s a type of jet lag where your internal clock thinks it is one time but the physical clock that runs the world around you says another.

It can be very useful to use a sunrise alarm clock or smart lights to help wake up in a more gentle and natural way. If you’re not familiar with using a special light-up alarm clock or smart lights in the morning, here’s the scoop on why the practice is so beneficial.

One of the really nice things about using a sunrise alarm clock (whether it’s a dedicated model or your smart lights) is that you can use blackout curtains all year round for super deep sleep and wake up at exactly the same time every day because the “sunrise” is your alarm clock doesn’t vary like the sunrise itself does over the year.

Go to Sleep at the Same Time

To really keep things simple for your body, try to keep your bedtime routine the same, as well. In the spring, go to bed an hour “early” to go to sleep at the same time you did the day before. In the fall, it can be useful to just ignore the clock and go to bed when you start to get tired. Looking at the clock after DST ends can throw you off because you’ll think “Oh, it’s only 10 o’clock! I shouldn’t be this tired!” when in reality it’s 11 o’clock as far as your biological clock is concerned.

Pretend it’s just a normal day and go to bed at the same time you did on Friday. Need help getting to sleep? A really cold (or really hot) shower or bath is an easy way to trick your body into getting sleepy.

A nice perk about modern tech is almost all our clocks will change automatically. Most smartphones, laptops, TVs, and even microwaves will adjust without our input. This makes it easier on us. When we wake up, we’ll find everything the same as the day before, and we won’t have to reset a bunch of clocks.

Exercise in the Morning

If it’s harder for you to roll out of bed at your normal wake-up time when it’s still dark, sign up for an early morning workout. It can motivate you to get moving.

It might not be easy, but having another reason to get up might be exactly what you need to survive the first few days of the DST adjustment.

See if you can find an energizing or uplifting morning workout class. By the time it’s over, the sun will have risen. Want to start small? Work these yoga moves into your morning routine.

Plan Your Morning

A woman sitting on a yoga mat in a bedroom and meditating.
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If exercising in the morning isn’t your favorite thing, or you simply don’t have time, you can still plan your morning, so it will be easier to breeze through.

Prepare everything you need the night before. Whether it’s an elaborate breakfast you’ve always wanted to make, a morning show you never get to watch, or a long meditation you usually have to rush through, create a plan and stick to it.

If you do, chances are you won’t even be aware of the time change.

Practice Mindfulness During The Time Shift

Whether you’re experiencing the shift into Daylight Saving Time or the shift back to Standard Time, it can help to recenter yourself and be extra mindful.

In the spring, it’s a lot easier to be mindful, we’ll admit. The days suddenly feel longer and you can take that “extra” hour to reflect on what you’re going to do with the extra sunshine at the end of your workday.

In the fall, we’d recommend taking a little time to take stock of things and be thankful for what you have going into the darker days of winter. We all tend to be so busy, especially around the time of year we set the clocks back—thanks to the hustle and bustle of the holidays—so it’s not a bad idea to take a breather and go easy on yourself.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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