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Falling Back? Tips to Get Back Up!

The end of daylight savings time landed on Sunday, November 5th. This means that clocks get set back an hour and a collective disorientation ensues. While some celebrate the extra hour of sleep, many are left in dread of the seemingly archaic time change concept. Either way, we can all use some helpful tips on how to get back up when the fall-back time change knocks us off balance.

So why does a change in a measly hour disorient us so much? Well, we may not use it to tell time, but we still take cues from the sun. For instance, the sun has impacts on our sense of feeling tired, falling asleep and waking up. With time change in play, this communication results in disruptions in sleep and triggering the effects of poor rest such as decreased focus and performance at school and work. Additionally, decreased daily sun exposure increases our chances of mood changes and risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Now that you’re aware of the potential effects on sleep and mood, let’s dig into some good mood enhancing routines as you prepare for and overcome the time change and darker months ahead.

  • Ease into the change!

Go to bed 15-30mins earlier on the days leading up to the time change. This will give you a longer transition time before the weekday routine begins. Getting a consistent sleep routine from the start will also boost your mood. Start by getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

  • Get regular daylight

With the sun setting earlier, you may quickly be left in the dark after school or work. Plan to make time to increase your exposure to daylight by getting outside in the morning time or during lunch time. Outside not an option? Try using a light therapy box which emits a type of artificial light that mimics outdoor light.

  • Get into Motion

Get up and get moving regularly to help with better sleep. Why not take a walk outside for some natural sunlight exposure to help boost your mood and energy. Just remember to avoid working out too late as all that energy can keep you up if it’s close to bedtime.

  • Eat Right Feel Bright

Being mindful of keeping up with good, regular nutrition can help with sleep and mood. When it comes to the evening, notice what takes longer to digest and keep you awake at night. This may mean a pass on that late night glass of wine or late afternoon coffee in order to get all the Z’s at bedtime.

  • Turn Off and Turn Down!

Darker nights may mean longer evenings binging the shows and scrolling the socials. When it comes to maintaining quality sleep and good mood, screen management is a must. Remember to reduce screen time 1-2hours before bedtime, especially if it’s a device that emits blue light. Remember to turn it off to begin turning down!

Mana Gebreyohannes is a registered social worker and psychotherapist at Your Therapy.

Your Therapy is a safe, welcoming, counselling therapy practice in the Greater Toronto Area. Thanks for reading and, as always, please feel free to reach out with questions about talk therapy or other mental health issues. We offer depression therapy, anxiety therapy and more.

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