Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday, so remember to set your clocks back one hour. You'll gain an hour of sleep, get more light in the morning, and lose light at the end of the day.
Some may look at it as a "glass half empty" situation--too dark to work out, play with your kids, or do other things outside at the end of the day--but we're not going to let the dark hold us back, right?
- Make your new routine a priority. There's a rumor is that it takes 21 days (or 3 weeks) to form a new habit. While you might have a few groggy mornings after the time change--a bit like jet lag--you should become accustomed in no time—and get the well-rested sleep you need!
- Exercise more, not less. If dark days get you down, exercise can help lift your mood. Experts recommend 30 minutes a day, three times a week to boost your mood on dark days.
- Don't be tempted to stay up later because of the extra hour. Even if you're not tired, try to hit the hay at your regular hour.
- Join a group. If you work out in the evening, your once bright running route might be a darkened pathway. Look into joining a group class like a running group or outdoor boot camp. Safety is always in numbers (especially when it's dark) and you'll be more motivated (and held accountable) to make your workout versus heading home to veg on the couch.
- Make the most of daytime hours. Can you squeeze in a workout during your lunch break? If not, try taking a walk to get a little sunshine (hello, vitamin D!) and fresh air.
- Know the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Although some studies suggest that as many as 20% of people in the U.S. might have a mild form of SAD, a type of depression triggered by short, cold days, other research suggests it's not as common as once thought. If the change of seasons also seems to bring difficulty concentrating, irritability, and other depression symptoms, it could be SAD. (Treatments, including light therapy, can help.)