5 Easy Ways to Beat the Shorter Days Blues

sunsetI love the fall, but I still can't help but get a little bit bummed out this time of year -- as the days grow shorter and we approach the end of daylight savings. I mean, when it's pitch black outside at 7 p.m., it makes me feel like I somehow missed a big chunk of my life. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months ... you can see where this is going. Every year the end of daylight savings time sends me straight into existential crisis mode and/or a vitamin D-deficient slump.

But guess what? As it turns out, our bodies are actually thrilled when daylight savings finally ends. That's because our circadian clocks are apparently in sync with the Earth's natural rhythms. (And they are NOT fooled by that false daylight-extending schedule created that we're forced to follow for the rest of the year because a long time ago somebody thought it would save on candle wax or coal or something.)

According to Till Roenneberg, lead chronobiology researcher for a study of the effects of time shifts:

"During the winter, there is a beautiful tracking of dawn in human sleep behavior, which is completely and immediately interrupted when daylight saving time is introduced in March."

He continues:

"When you change clocks to daylight saving time, you don't change anything related to sun time. This is one of those human arrogances, that we can do whatever we want as long as we are disciplined. We forget that there is a biological clock that is as old as living organisms, a clock that cannot be fooled. The pure social change of time cannot fool the clock."

See? Shorter days are good for us -- you just have to adjust. The actual end of daylight savings is one month away (November 4), so spend the next few weeks preparing by:

1. Wake up around the same time every morning -- sleeping in on weekends will just throw you even more off-whack.

2. Wind down in the evening earlier than usual, a little at a time.

3. Gradually make your evening meal earlier, too.

4. Set the DVR for your fave late-night shows.

5. Treat yourself to some new bedding. Cozy sheets make it easy to hibernate!

Pretty simple, right?

Do you get down when the days get shorter?

 

Image via Micky/Flickr

healthy habits, sleep

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EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

Haha i always feel like such an oddball when i read posts like these, because this is my favourite time of year. I like the cooler days, because i can't cope with humidity, and i like the darker evenings. Maybe we can attribute it to being irish? Or maybe t's because we have halloween and christmas at this time of year, and you would have thanksgiving too. I love it!!

jagam... jagamama0710

LOL I'm the same as Emma. I am at my happiest in the fall and winter. Spring is my least favorite season and I tire of summer pretty quickly. I hate hot weather. I lived in the south for 18 months and if I never have to live there again it will be too soon. I love the shorter days and cool weather and I LOVE snow. We have a cold snap coming this week and I am so excited. :) 

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

and layering up clothes! you can go out looking like poppinfresh but nobody will care, cos you're warm!!

Venae Venae

(And they are NOT fooled by that false daylight-extending schedule created we're forced to follow the for rest of the year because a long time ago somebody thought it would save on candle wax or coal or something.)


The daylight isn't extended - it's going to be daylight no matter what time the clock says.  I just wish they'd leave the damn clock alone.


I hate the cold - having to put on real shoes and socks just to go outside sucks.  I am a heat-loving Florida girl.  Anything below 80 degrees is too chilly for me!  The cold just gets in my bones no matter how many layers I'm wearing.  And yes, I've had my thyroid checked.

Deann... Deanna2872

As someone that has been dealing with seasonal affective disorder since I was 14yrs old (I'm 40 now), I can say that in general, shorter days aren't a thrill. I do very much appreciate the longer sunlight 'hours' of daylight savings time.



And as for your shitty remark about coal and candlewax- No. While candle wax and oil were a concern, it was not the defining issue.

It was a matter of being able to work, from sun up until sun down. The time change was made for businesses and commerce, for farmers and ranchers to be able to tend to their chores and do business in a timely fashion (in keeping with bankers/business hours), as well as to be able to travel with the most sunlight available for business AND voting purposes-

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