7 Ways to Fight Daylight Savings Fatigue (Spring Forward) Naturally

Published on March 11, 2024

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

It’s nearly that time of year again! 

Not spring break, the daffodil festival, or Easter but the dreaded duty of springing forward and losing an hour of precious sleep.

For millions of people, daylight savings—especially spring forward—is more than a drag and is associated with a higher rate of fatigue-related accidents, injuries, and deaths, as well as negative effects on the cardiovascular system, immune function, and circadian rhythm (sleep cycle).REF#3766 REF#3767

It’s become so unpopular that some countries and states have banned it altogether, and many political figures are pushing for its permanent removal.

In other words, daylight savings fatigue is real, and we need solutions to address it.

In this article, we’ll look at seven simple and natural ways to combat daylight savings fatigue using nature therapy, supplements, and other lifestyle practices.

Get ready to spring forward with gusto!

7 Natural Solutions for Daylight Savings Fatigue

As previously mentioned, daylight savings has been associated with various ill health effects, including a 6% increased risk of automobile accidents, emotional distress, and a higher overall mortality level in Spring.REF#3768 REF#3769

What’s the cause of this?

Research suggests it is rooted in the disruption of the circadian rhythm or the sleep cycle. REF#3770

When we lose an hour of sleep and are forced to awaken an hour early, it causes fatigue and a downstream effect on many biological and hormonal functions.

We know this intuitively, which is why mostly no one (especially parents) looks forward to Spring. However, it’s nice to know there’s research validating our concerns.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to ease the transition and avoid the negative impacts of daylight savings.

Let’s explore seven natural solutions to help you avoid daylight savings fatigue.

1. Get Bright Morning Light As Soon As Possible

Research has shown that exposure to bright morning light is one of the best ways to reset your sleep cycle and get a better night’s rest.REF#3771

When your eyes take in the early morning sunlight, it signals your brain that this is morning and a time to be awake and active. 

It also shuts down your body’s melatonin production (your master sleep hormone), helping you feel more awake and alert.

You don’t need to spend much time staring at the sun. 

Even ten minutes spent outdoors in the morning—without sunglasses but not staring directly at the sun—can do a world of good for your circadian rhythm, especially during daylight savings week.

Are you up before the sun during the time change? 

If so, plan to take a break and go outdoors once the sun comes up.

2. Avoid Blue Light Before Bed

You just learned that exposure to bright light shuts down your body’s melatonin production in the morning, which is why you want to avoid bright light at night.

This is especially true for screens and electronic devices, as blue light has been proven to disrupt the sleep cycle.REF#3772

This doesn’t mean you have to turn off all your lights at 8:00 PM, but experiment with diming nighttime lighting and putting away electronics 1-2 hours before sleep.

3. Take Adaptogens

Adaptogens are a classification of herbs that help the body adapt and thrive under stressful conditions, such as during a time change!

Research has shown adaptogens work by supporting normal output and function of stress hormones via the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis,REF#3773 which is the body’s hormonal stress response system.REF#3774

Adaptogenic herbs, plants, and mushrooms have been used across cultures for centuries and may provide many benefits during stress or transitions, including time changes.

Adaptogens are generally safe to take long-term as their benefits can compound over time. Some examples of adaptogenic herbs include:

  • Ashwagandha: Also known as “Indian Ginseng,” this root has been used for over 2000 years in Ayurveda and is now a popular supplement worldwide.
  • Cordyceps: This fungus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote energy, endurance, and stamina.* 
  • Eleuthero: Also known as Siberian Ginseng, it is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to invigorate Qi (energy) and support stamina.*
  • Maca Root: Also known as “Peruvian Ginseng,” was a staple functional food of the ancient Incas for healthy energy and stamina.* 
  • Reishi Mushroom: Also known as “the mushroom of immortality,” Reishi has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help the body cope with stress and support immune and cardiovascular function.*
  • Rhodiola: Also known as “Siberian Ginseng,” this herb is used in Russian folklore to promote healthy stamina and energy.* 
  • Schisandra: This is the Traditional Chinese herb from which the term “adaptogen” was coined. Schisandra has been used to nurture a normal stress response and support immune function.*

Check with your healthcare practitioner for individual recommendations, but generally, it’s ideal to start taking adaptogen before daylight savings and continue for a few weeks afterward to support your sleep cycle, energy, and adrenal function.*

Many people also enjoy combining adaptogens with their morning coffee or tea or substituting adaptogens for caffeine.

Find more inspiration in: Going Caffiene-Free? Try These 7 Energizing Herbal Alternatives & Lifestyle Tips.

4. Retire Early and/or Take a Nap

Spring forward typically results in losing an hour of sleep, but it doesn’t have to!

It may not be easy (especially with the lighter evenings), but going to bed an hour early, then a half hour early, then 15 minutes early, etc., makes for an easier transition and is less disruptive to the circadian rhythm.

If this isn’t possible, consider taking a nap or meditating (especially if naps tend to keep you up at night) for 10-15 minutes in the afternoon to help take the edge off.

5. Try Grounding or Earthing

It may sound hippy-dippy, but the simple act of making direct contact with the earth by walking around barefoot, gardening, or swimming in natural water can have some significant benefits.

For example, studies have shown earthing may:REF#3775 REF#3776

  • Support your circadian rhythm
  • Support various aspects of cardiovascular function
  • Reduce stress
  • Promote normal immune function
  • Support normal inflammatory response

Earthing works by providing the body with naturally occurring negative electrons, which act as antioxidants.

These negative-charged electrons, known as “vitamin G” (grounding), have a calming effect on the body, like what you feel after a rainstorm, and help balance out the excess positive electrons we receive from electronic devices, wearing shoes, and just living a modern life.

Try earthing for 20-30 minutes per day for best results.

And if you can do this outdoors in the morning, you’ll kill two birds with one stone by getting your natural morning light.

6. Eat A Healthy Nourishing Breakfast

Did you know consistently eating breakfast benefits the circadian rhythm? It’s true!

Research has shown skipping breakfast long-term may disrupt our circadian rhythm and negatively impact metabolism.REF#3777

Plus, getting in those healthy calories first thing in the morning will help give you the energy and fuel you need to get through the day.

Get more information on the benefits of eating breakfast plus healthy breakfast ideas in: What are the Benefits of Eating Breakfast? Plus, 3 Weeks of Healthy Breakfast Ideas.

7. Keep A Light Schedule

Spring forward is typically in March, so plan accordingly by lightening your schedule as much as possible that week.

There is no shame in saying no, setting boundaries, and putting off certain commitments to give yourself more time to adjust.

This is especially important for children who may find the time change disruptive.

Put off non-essential errands, forget extra sports practices, and give yourself some extra self-care.

It may seem inconvenient, but taking it easy now will prevent the pitfalls of daylight savings fatigue in the days and weeks ahead.

Recap: Daylight Savings Fatigue Tips

Daylight savings fatigue is a real phenomenon affecting millions a year, especially during Spring forward.

Although plans appear to be in the works to eliminate it, we cannot control if or when that happens.

Fortunately, we can take proactive steps to avoid and/or mitigate its effects.

Even if you follow one or two of these tips, you should notice a difference in your health, mood, sleep quality, energy, and overall well-being.

It will all be worth it when you’re enjoying those longer spring and summer days ahead!


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