Tick Tock… “Spring forward” is nigh, friends! This Sunday, we gain sunlight but lose an hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Saving Time (DST). While the 60 minute leap forward might not seem like a big deal, science says it can actually disrupt our internal body clocks for a week or longer, leading to increased tiredness and fatigue. To thwart the foggy groggies following DST and smoothly transition into spring, put these fatigue-fighting tips to use.
DST Tip #1: Get a bright start.
Controlling exposure to light and darkness helps to maintain the natural rhythm of the body’s internal clock. Skip this and you’re likely to feel sluggish for the better part of Sunday. Instead, follow the advice of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and go outside early. Why? Because basking in morning sunlight helps to wake you up. For even more mental clarity, the AASM suggests limiting your light exposure during the evening, which will help you sleep better so you wake up refreshed.
DST Tip #2: Eat a filling breakfast.
A 2022 study, which looked at the factors that induce grogginess in the morning — including the type of breakfast we eat — found that study participants who consumed a sugar-filled breakfast had a harder time staying alert during the day. In contrast, study participants who ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast with a small amount of protein maintained their alertness all day long. According to the study’s lead author, “a breakfast rich in carbohydrates can increase alertness, so long as your body is healthy and capable of efficiently disposing of the glucose from that meal, preventing a sustained spike in blood sugar that otherwise blunts your brain’s alertness.”
DST Tip #3: Supplement With L-Theanine.
It turns out that an amino acid found in green and black tea called L-theanine could help sharpen your focus. A 2021 study found that participants who took L-theanine capsules every day for 12 weeks had great working memory and executive cognitive function compared to adults who took placebo capsules. Researchers explored the possibility that L-theanine intake might improve alpha wave brain activity, which is associated with helping you feel calmer and less stressed. Always consult your doctor before starting any supplement.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.