Falling back should be easy: 4 tips for adjusting to longer nights

Some of us look forward to the fall time change…that extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning is more than welcome! But so much darkness every day can be difficult, regardless of what the clock says at sun up and sun down.

Did you know that the days get shorter by 3 minutes per day at this time of the year? Where I live, the sun rises at 7:56 a.m., and sets at 6:12 p.m. at this time of the year. Next week, after the time change, it will rise at 7:05 and set at 5:04 p.m. This means that I will be waking up well before sunrise, and I may still be at work when it gets dark. Both directions of my commute will involve night driving.

I’m not going to talk about the “should we or shouldn’t we” debate around switching the clocks. However, I would like to share four tips to help you thrive despite the winter darkness…

  1. Consider using timers to turn the lights on before you wake up. Your body is oddly susceptible to suggestion– it will believe that morning has broken, if light and noise suggest daytime! Looking for Christmas gift ideas? “Wake up lights” gradually increase in brightness before the alarm sounds. I bought this one; the controls for setting the alarm were a bit tricky, but I love the waking up in daylight, even if it’s fake.
  2. Take advantage of new lighting technology to keep your home brighter during “waking” hours. More efficient lighting means we don’t have to be quite so stingy with the light. Lights can come on when you enter a room and shut off when not needed. Light is the most potent cue for your body to wake up and stay in “daytime” mode.
  3. If you don’t already have a daily exercise routine, consider starting an early morning workout now. If you get up just a half hour earlier than last week, you’ll still get the advantage of “falling back” by a half hour, but you can sneak in 30 minutes of walking, stair climbing, pushups, or whatever.
  4. Check your headlights, and give them a good cleaning. We haven’t needed them much over the summer, but we’ll rely on them for almost every trip, soon!

In the spring, we’ll share more tips for coping with the “spring forward”.

p.s. The photo above is one of many attempts to capture an iconic Georgian Bay sunrise. (Yes, I need a new phone/camera.) My sunrise hobby is strictlly a spring and fall pursuit, because I’m much too lazy for summer sunrises!

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