With most of our digital clocks adjusting themselves this past weekend, it might have been easy to forget that North America left Daylight Savings Time behind on Sunday and set our clocks back by one hour. Your body, however, might not have been so easily fooled.

Daylight Savings Time has become a highly contested topic in recent years, with many proposing we scrap the practice all together. While switching our clocks back and forth to follow the sun might have been more practical historically, in modern times DST has been thought to impact sleep quality and pile on the stress.

If you’re feeling the drag, here are 5 tips to help you adjust to the time difference.

Light filters through a canopy of trees.

Tip #1

Seek out light as soon as you wake up.

Although the clock falling backwards may seem like a benefit to us – who doesn’t want an extra hour of sleep on a Sunday? – any sort of standard change to our daily routine may have an effect. If you’re feeling a little slow to the draw this week, the clock change may be why.

Getting in front of bright light as soon as you wake up is one way to encourage your circadian rhythm to “wake up,” according to the CDC. This can mean either going outside into the sunshine as soon as you can, or investing in a light therapy box. (Talk to your doctor if you want to get into light therapy, and whatever you do, don’t look directly into the light.)

Two young women walk across a busy campus square

Tip #2

Avoid napping

Naps are a great way to recharge in the afternoon, but if you’re struggling with time change, they might be getting in the way of you falling asleep on time.

For the first few weeks after the clocks switch, try foregoing your nap for a brisk walk outside or a mini workout session – something that will get your blood flowing. This should help you wake up without running the risk of over sleeping in the afternoon.

A hand holds a white mug full of steaming hot coffee

Tip #3

Stay away from caffeine later in the day

Caffeine has been shown to not only keep us awake later on in the evening, but also impacts our quality of sleep once we finally do nod off, meaning we don’t get as much deep sleep as we need and wake up feeling groggy in the morning.

Since we’re going to bed a little later in the evening than in DST, it might be tempting to grab a cup of coffee to keep us going. Instead, stick to caffeine free coffee and teas after 4 p.m. to make sure you get a full night of sleep.

A tired pug is wrapped up in a grey linen blanket

Tip #4

Ease your way into it

If your typical bedtime is 11 p.m., you might be feeling sleepy starting at 10 p.m. now. Instead of pushing yourself through an hour of feeling absolutely exhausted every evening, try slowly working your way back to your “new normal” bedtime.

For example, the next few nights you might try to stay up until 10:15, then spend another few nights at 10:30, etc., until you get back to your 11 p.m. time slot.

A koala sleeps with its head against a tree branch

Tip #5

Give yourself time to adjust

Our circadian rhythms will take time to adjust to the new cycle, so go easy on yourself for the first few weeks after the clocks change. The stress of the new times is compounded by the effects of the less daylight and more time spent inside away from colder weather. You’re body’s going through a lot.

If you’re having trouble adjusting, find you are always feel tired or sad, or if you consistently have trouble feeling motivated, it may be worth having a conversation with your doctor. Many people begin to experience symptoms of seasonal depression at this time of year; help is available.

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