This weekend is Daylight Saving time (often misspelled as "Daylight Savings," if you didn't know, now you do). While its origins are relatively unclear, it's a historic tradition we still honor today... unless of course you're one of the lucky ones who live in Arizona.
Having to turn the clocks back almost always causes some level of confusion, even with automatic updates of modern tech. The original purpose of Daylight Saving was to conserve energy and optimize the workday, so you may notice it's a bit brighter when you wake up on Sunday morning.
While this is helpful for early birds, it also means that they days gets darker earlier especially in the northeast, disrupting our circadian rhythms. Even though it's only an hour, falling back can be confusing for our bodies on a cellular level.
In the spirit of making this transition as simple and gentle as possible, we've enlisted the advice of our wellness experts who share their best tips for absorbing and optimizing that extra hour.
1. Get to bed earlier.
This one seems counterintuitive when we "fall back" but sleep and anxiety expert, Dr. Ellen Vora, maintains that an earlier bedtime will help our bodies adjust—she suggests doing so with a wind-down routine. "Rather than defaulting back to your later sleep schedule, see if you can maintain the earlier schedule."
For those of us who have a harder time falling asleep earlier, Dr. Amy Shah, an expert in hormone, gut and integrative health who blends eastern and western approaches, suggests using melatonin to adjust to an earlier bedtime. "Most people use too much melatonin," she warns. One to two milligrams one week will help you reset to an earlier bedtime. "You need about a week of supplementation for the internal circadian clock to switch." For those of you who are afraid to try melatonin, read on for more options.
2. Look toward the sun in the morning.
Dr. Shah also maintains that you should look at the sun in the morning, as it helps signal the start of the day to the body.
"The photoreceptors in your eyes go straight to the hypothalamus. This helps reset your internal clock. First thing going outside or looking at the sun through a window is the best way to do this. Of course you want to be careful not to look too long directly at the sun but just generally toward the sun."
Dr. Will Cole, functional medicine doctor, agrees. "There is some pretty fascinating research evaluating the effect that spending time outside and looking at sunrises and sunsets have on our body clocks."
3. Use grounding stones and crystals in your home.
While dimming electronics and adjusting to your circadian rhythm is incredibly helpful, sometimes we need a little extra help from the earth. Energetic healer and crystal expert Kalisa Augustine shares her favorites for the time of transition. "Since we are working with our body's internal clock and biorhythm, it's important to feel connected to the Earth during this adjustment. Try falling asleep with some grounding stones and crystals like Hematite, Smoky Quartz or Jasper in the palms of your hands."
4. Take advantage of the season and get reflective.
Both Kalisa and Dr. Vora suggest taking advantage of this cozy time to journal and turn inward. Writing during this time, when fall turns to winter and the senses withdraw can be very insightful.
In addition, Dr. Vora emphasizes the importance of integrating the community to punctuate your reflection. "This time of year is the yin to spring and summer's yang. Embrace the yearning to stay in, lay low, rest, journal, light candles, make art and reflect. Just make sure you have company or community some of the time."
5. Infuse your morning shower with peppermint essential oil.
Feng shui expert Dana Claudat recommends adding a couple drops of peppermint essential oils to your morning shower for a stimulating steam. It's a powerful energizer and will start your morning off in a way that creates mental space and clarity.
6. Ladies, balance your hormones with magnesium, maca, and B12.
Women's health and hormone expert Alisa Vitti asks us to be mindful of our adrenals. Of course, discuss with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen, but she says "B12 and magnesium will help your body energize sooner in the morning, and fall asleep earlier at night, while the maca will give the adrenals extra support during the whole first week of the transition."
"Don't be surprised if the time change affects your period a bit, and causes a slight delay in your menstruation. Any disruption in quantity of sleep can delay various parts of the cycle." Noted!
7. Try this high-magnesium snack before bedtime.
And if supplements aren't your speed, Dr. Shah has shared a simple and easy recipe that's packed with magnesium, and will help you fall asleep easily and naturally. "I like to make relaxation balls with oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, mashed banana, and some almond butter. Add vanilla and top work a few dark chocolate chips." Deliciously dreamy.
8. Keep bedtimes and wake-up times consistent.
This one's a no-brainer, but we all struggle with it sometimes, especially in the winter. Read: no snoozing!
Routine is important to maintaining any sort of balance, according to modern herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson. "A regular bedtime and wake-up time can often make all the difference in people's energy levels, motivation and mental/emotional health. When we go through a time change, a bedtime routine/sleep schedule is particularly important and helps us stay on track, because we are held by this schedule, even if the sunlight/clocks are shifting around us." So pick a time and stick with it.
While falling back means colder, darker weather, we'd fall back any weekend with a list like this.