(FOX 2) - This weekend we say goodbye to Daylight Saving Time. So, yes, it feels like an extra hour of sleep but the change in daylight brings on new challenges.
Simply changing the time can lead to complex challenges. Disruptions in your sleep schedule can cause mental fog, irritability and even mess up your eating routine.
And, as long sunny days turn shorter and darker some people begin to experience seasonal depression. Many of us are already feeling blue due to COVID-19 restrictions. So for some, fall and winter are shaping up to be a real mental health struggle.
"If we're already feeling some helplessness, hopelessness, irritability, confinement and we add the winter months to it - short daylight hours, limited exposure to daylight. Those that are experiencing seasonal affective disorder are going to really be challenged," said Dr. Scott Bea from Cleveland Clinic.
He suggests taking action before winter arrives.
He says committing to an exercise program is a great place to start because exercise, just about any type, has a positive impact on mood.
It's also a good idea to plan and maintain social connections. Virtual interactions with family and friends or socially-distanced outdoor activities can all be helpful.
Keeping busy with a structured schedule is beneficial, too.
"We know a good biological treatment for depression is called activity scheduling. It doesn't have a lot of appeal for people on the surface, but if you can schedule your days in blocks of
time with meaningful, purposeful, recreational, interpersonal connecting sorts of activities, commit yourself to those activities, that gets you out of your mind where a lot of the misery occurs, into your real life, and we know that that changes what our brain does biologically."
Here are more tips to help your body regulate as we flip the clocks back.
Wake up to the light. Open those curtains.
Exercise in the morning if you can. Don't drink loads of caffeine and try not to take a nap.
Dr. Bea says if you struggle with seasonal affective disorder, consider buying a therapy light that shines at 10 thousand lux and sit in front of it for 30 minutes a day.