– By Camille Pruitt
Everyone gets excited when we spring forward into Daylight Savings time, it marks the end of winter, and lighter evenings with more sunshine to bask in. But, there are downsides when it comes to staying on track with your training through this transition period, especially if you like to work out in the mornings. Losing an hour of sleep may not seem like much but your body only needs small changes to potentially send it into chaos.
Our internal body clock is endogenous, meaning it keeps its own time, and does not fall in line with time changes without a little massaging. When we lose an hour of sleep it can be likened to a mild jet lag. Studies have shown that daytime functioning is impaired for several days and the rate of car accidents increases on the Monday following the shift forward into daylight saving time!
Here are some pro tips to stay focussed and make the transition as smooth as possible without sabotaging your fitness, health and wellbeing.
Get In Early – Reset your clock on Friday night and try to eat your meals, go to bed and wake up according to that clock so that your body’s not completely thrown off on Monday morning. When your week begins you will already be adjusted and you are far less likely to hit that snooze button on your morning training. If that’s not an option, then try to get to bed an hour earlier than normal the night before.
Prep wisely – Another great way to stay on track is to pick out your workout clothes, shoes, water bottle etc the night before, and put them out ready to go. This has 2 advantages, it sets your intention to train and mentally prepares you to spring out of bed without hitting snooze, and it also means you aren’t rushing around in the dark trying to find everything. Win-win! You could even go a step further and pack your lunch on Sunday so that the morning feels even more relaxed.
Exercise – Try to exercise in the mornings over the weekend prior, as this will help your body reset your brain’s clock. Working out releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust. Avoid exercising too late in the evening though, as this could interfere with the quality of your sleep.
Stay Dry – Avoid imbibing over the weekend prior to the time change, as alcohol interferes with the body’s normal sleep cycles. Invariably drinking also involves late nights, and this is exactly what you want to avoid leading up to the new time schedule.
Power Down – Light has a huge effect on the body’s circadian rhythm, so make sure you turn off all devices and TV at least an hour before bed. Dim the lights an hour earlier than your usual bedtime so that your body registers that it’s time to wind down and turn off its cortisol, and in turn start secreting its sleep-inducing melatonin, allowing for that deep slumber.
Sleep Hygiene – Create an environment that is sleep friendly. Reduce or refrain from caffeine the day before, create calming rituals before bed such as a hot bath, meditation, soothing music, and aromatherapy. Lavender may help you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake more refreshed.
How do you find the adaptation to time changes, and do you stay on track with your training? Let us know in the comments below, and share these tips with your friends!