Today is March 8th and it’s that time of year again, when we reset our clocks and readjust to the time change associated with Daylight Saving Time (DST). Some of us breeze through the change seamlessly, but if you’re like me, some of us struggle through those initial days. If you have trouble dealing with DST and its disruption in your routine, it is for good reason.
Our brains understand that the clocks have changed but our body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) does not. When the clock springs forward, we are robbed of an hour of sleep and our bodies tend to struggle. It just takes some time for our bodies to find its normal sleep rhythms and obtain the quality sleep/rest that we need.
As Athletes a lack of sleep can have significant impact on our activities, training plans and recovery. Since we are accustomed to planning a lot of our activities here are some tips and tricks on how you can prepare for DST:
Start Your Day Early:
DST is scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning so that you can adjust for the week ahead. In order to reduce the disruption to the upcoming week’s training plans and allow your body to fully prepare for the switch I recommend resetting one of your clocks at the start of the weekend. For example I plan on setting my alarm clock, the DST Clock, an hour early for Saturday morning. I also plan on eating my meals, training and going to sleep according to DST clock. If this all works according to plan, by the time Monday rolls around I will feel readjusted. Note: If you have plans and events during the weekend make sure you don’t mix up the times. 🙂
Doing various outdoor athletic activities helps our brains and bodies adjust to time changes. I recommend getting out earlier in the day for a bike ride, walk or going for a run with a friend. Avoid activities too late in the evening as this could interfere with your quality of sleep.
Light the Dark:
Don’t pack away your reflective vest and safety gear. In some areas of the country the local running routes might still be dark. Make sure drivers on the road can spot you. Remember safety first.
Some athletes exercise to music. So why not cue up some new songs or download a new podcast. Or if you don’t run to music then lay out a new exercise outfit for your first DST athletic activity. New music and/or new outfit is a great motivator to get you out and about.
After DST, you might be hungrier for meals either earlier or later in the day. Be sure to follow your nutrition schedule. Take time to properly digest your dinner before you head to bed. A heavy meal could interfere with your quality of sleep.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy:
The right combination of light and darkness can help your body’s circadian rhythm.. I recommend opening the shades in the morning and spending more time outside. Finally, in the evenings dim the lights so that your body can begin to relax and wind down.
Now, I’ll be the first one to admit the first few days will be tough. But once you start your new routine you will feel much better. Plus with more day light and sun you bound to feel much happier. 🙂
What tips and tricks do you have to adjust to DST?