Adjusting to Daylight Savings Changes

Couple sitting on dock in the fall

If you are one of the millions of Americans that turned their clocks back one hour this past weekend, you may find yourself struggling to stick to your normal sleep schedule. Even just the one-hour time difference can have a significant impact on our sleep, energy levels, and mental health, which is why it’s important to make small changes to your daily routine to get back on track. In this blog post, we share some tips from Dr. Robert Dean, founder of AROmotion.

“Setting our clocks back one hour can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock that signals to us when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up,” says Dr. Dean. “When the days get shorter, it gets darker earlier which can throw our internal clocks out of whack pretty quickly. When this happens, our sleep can get disrupted which in turn can have a negative impact on our energy levels and mental health.”

According to Dean, now is the time to adjust our daily routines so we can quickly return to our normal schedules, feel energized, and maintain a positive mood throughout the season.

“I always tell my patients to start making changes as soon as possible to avoid the fatigue and burnout that can happen when the time changes,” says Dean. “This is especially important for my patients managing chronic joint pain, so they can continue to maintain healthy lifestyles and enjoy everything about the new season.”

Here are the basic steps that Dr. Dean recommends taking now to get ahead of Fall Back Fatigue:

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule. It’s getting darker earlier, which means your body’s signals are going to change. You may notice that you’re feeling sleepy earlier in the day so you should adjust your schedule accordingly. Make small changes each day so you start your day a little earlier and then start unwinding and getting ready for bed a bit earlier. This way, you don’t have to fight your body’s natural urges to relax and recharge and you can return to getting 7-8 hours of restorative sleep.

Soak Up the Sun. The temperatures may be dropping but getting outside for some natural air and light is still key in keeping your internal clock in check. Try getting exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning by getting outside for a quick morning walk or sipping your morning coffee on the porch. If it’s too chilly to be out, try spending some time sitting by a window with open curtains.  

Keep Stress In Check. Time changes can cause stress due to fatigue and feeling like you are off your normal schedule. Give yourself some time and grace to adjust as needed by taking breaks to enjoy relaxing activities like meditation, gentle yoga, writing in a journal, or spending some time with loved ones.  

Watch What You Eat. It’s natural to gravitate towards comfort foods as the weather changes. While it’s OK to indulge every now and then, it’s important to stay on track with your diet goals by eating a balanced diet consisting of whole foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats. If you need some tips on enjoying traditional comfort foods with a lighter twist, check out our blog post with some of Dr. Dean’s favorite healthy comfort foods.

Celebrate the Season. Stay focused on all of the positive things ahead! The holidays are upon us which means quality time with our loved ones, joyous celebrations, and cozy nights in with family. Keeping your mental health in check is just as important as keeping your physical health in check, so if you feel like the seasonal changes are having a serious impact, talk with your doctor or health care professional about the best plan for you.

“Every season is a gift that we can cherish and enjoy with our friends and family,” says Dean. “That said, I always encourage my patients to prioritize their own self-care during the adjustment period so they can stay healthy, happy, with their joint pain management plan in check.:

If you are living with chronic knee, hip, or shoulder pain that’s preventing you from daily tasks and activities, you can complete the form below to request your free consultation with Dr. Dean to see if you are a candidate for AROmotion, which has helped more than 2,000 patients stop their joint pain fast without surgery.