Don’t let daylight savings set you back
It’s that time of year again when places all around the world are setting the clocks back for daylight savings, but your body doesn’t care about the time on a clock because it’s guided by the cycle of the sun.
Let’s be honest, changes in daylight savings time can be challenging.
Does it take weeks for your body to adjust to the time change?
These annual changes used to be rough, leaving me feeling super tired in the late afternoon or dragging my ass when getting out of bed.
I often wonder why we still do them at all. And if we stop daylight savings, how would we adjust the time to align with the actual time of day according to the position of the sun?
Modernization has given us a lot of conveniences in life, but it doesn’t always take into account what your body needs to feel its best.
Take the light bulb for example…
It’s so much easier to flip a switch or set a timer to turn on your lights from your phone these days instead of fumbling through the dark lighting candles.
However, did you know that artificial lights such as the ones in your very own home can trick your body into thinking the sun is still up and negatively impact your ability to fall asleep or get a good night’s rest?
The same is true for your central heating. If your home is too warm at night, it can also trick your body into thinking the sun is still up.
Your body has an internal clock aligned with the sun and the moon cycles.
When the sun rises, light and temperature increase, signaling your body to release cortisol hormone which gives you energy to get going in the morning and throughout the day.
When the sun sets, light and temperature decrease, signaling your body to lower cortisol hormone and release the sleep-supporting hormone melatonin along with other hormones to restore and repair your body at night.
This internal body clock aligned with the sun cycle is a big part of why it’s so tough to adjust to daylight savings time changes. The clock says one time but your body knows another based on the sun cycle.
But you don’t have to be on the struggle bus over the next few weeks while your body adjusts because there are ways to support your body during this transition so you can have more energy, sleep great through the night, and feel your best.
In this week’s video and blog, I’m giving you my top tips to get through daylight savings like a health boss so you can have more energy, feel great, and even lose weight!
Let’s first point out that feeling tired or sluggish after daylight savings isn’t your fault. It’s the result of a natural response your body has to light and temperature.
So stop beating yourself up and start loving up on your body to get your bounce back.
The key to feeling great, no matter what time of year or timezone you’re in, is to honor your body’s internal clock that is ruled by the sun cycle.
As humans, we are wired to be diurnal (aka day dwelling) meaning our energy is best during the day and we are meant to sleep when it’s dark.
The exact opposite of our feline friends or other critters who are nocturnal and enjoy romping around at night.
Based on this internal clock, our body does some really important things during certain times of the day. For example:
- Sunrise: cortisol is released giving you the energy to get up and get going
- 5 – 6 am: the large intestines get moving leading to a bowel movement upon waking
- 11 am – 1 pm: circulation is emphasized to nourish organs and optimize digestion
- Sunset: cortisol lowers to lower energy and prep for bedtime
- Evening: darkness promotes the secretion of melatonin to prep for sleep
- Midnight: the largest amount of human growth hormone is released to repair cells
- 1 – 3 am: the gallbladder, liver, and lungs do their major detox work
When we acknowledge and adhere to this internal clock, it can produce huge results relating to your energy, sleep, hormones, and weight balance.
When we sleep too far past sunrise or stay up late, it interferes with the body’s natural rhythm and can leave you feeling tired, sick, or fat all of the time.
With this knowledge in hand, you can take action like a health boss to support your body when traveling across different time zones or when daylight savings takes place.
Here are my top tips to get through daylight savings like a health boss so you can have more energy, feel great, and even lose weight!
#1 – Rise with the Sun
This might be the most challenging but effective one for shifting your energy, improving sleep quality, and ultimately supporting weight loss and feeling your best. You’ve got to get up when the sun rises or just shortly after.
Remember, according to your body’s natural rhythm when the sun rises so does cortisol which gives you the energy to get up and get going. Cortisol then peaks about 2 hours after sunrise. If you’re sleeping through this critical moment not only will you feel groggy all day long but you’re also messing with the rhythm of your other hormones.
Don’t hit the snooze button. Get up, even if you’re slow to get moving. After doing this for a few days along with the other tips it will get easy.
#2 – Move in the Morning
With cortisol peaking in the morning, this is the best time to move your body. Most people know of cortisol as the stress hormone, but it’s also what gives us the energy to do things.
This morning cortisol spike is what gave our ancestors the energy to get out early in the morning to hunt while prey was active, and do the most vigorous work before the sun peaked and it was too hot.
While we don’t have to hunt for food, build shelters, or migrate, we do want to honor this natural biological circadian rhythm and even leverage it to get better health results.
Aligning your exercise routine with this natural cortisol boost in the morning will give you more energy all day long and better physical results. Plus, moving your body in the morning will also balance your sleep-wake cycles leading to better quality sleep.
You can’t out diet, out supplement, or out exercise a poor sleep-wake cycle so get moving in the morning to put results in motion.
#3 – Mimic Sunset
When the sun sets, both light and temperature decrease. But the modern luxuries of life allow us to create an artificial environment that tricks the body into thinking the sun is still up, interfering with our internal clock and balance.
When the sunsets, mimic it in your house by dimming lights and temperature. This will signal your body to lower cortisol (aka energy) and start prepping for sleep with the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone.
When you do this, you should feel naturally tired into the evening time instead of wired or getting a “second wind”, which will set you up for a great night’s sleep. This will make it easier to wake up with the sun in the morning – see how that cycle works!
On average, the optimal sleeping temperature is about 68 degrees so set your thermostat to start working towards that at least 30 minutes before bed.
Turn lights off around the house that you really don’t need, swap light bulbs for softer lighting, or my personal favorite is to use the soft light of salt lamps around the house in the evening.
Wearing blue-blocker glasses in the afternoon and evening like my favorite Viva Rays also helps to diffuse artificial light to support the body’s natural rhythm.
#4 – Be Asleep by 10 pm
This step is what makes the whole rhythm work. According to your internal body clock, it’s critical to be asleep by 10 p.m. so your body can do all of its major detox and repair work at night.
If you’re not asleep by 10 pm, then you’re not in the required restful state for these critical actions to take place, thus you’ll wake up feeling exhausted no matter how late you sleep in.
So in order to wake up feeling rested and to have the energy to move your body in the morning, you’ve got to be asleep by 10 p.m.
This creates the foundation for more energy and hormone balance that are dictated by your cortisol rhythm, to lose weight and feel great.
Every one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of rest for your body. In the winter months, it’s normal and okay to be asleep earlier than 10 p.m. because the days are shorter.
So don’t fight feeling tired when it’s dark outside, let yourself go to bed and wake up with an abundance of energy to get things done like a health boss!
These are the exact steps I take daily to feel my best every day of the year, despite daylight savings, and they have made a HUGE impact on my client’s health and well-being too.
I’d love to hear which step(s) you are going to focus on to support your body through daylight savings.
Comment below to let me know