For a top performer who needs energy for optimal performance, the weekends are an effective time to recharge. A big part of recharging entails not only getting quality sleep but a sufficient amount of it. With that said, during autumn and spring, time changes alter our schedules while temporarily lowering productivity for some.
In the spring, losing an hour is more problematic because those who are chronically sleep deprived are losing even more sleep, further falling into a sleep debt.
It generally takes about a day to adjust for each hour of time change, but sleep-deprived individuals take longer to adjust. Time changes all present other real-world issues.
Fatal traffic accidents increase the Monday after time changes, according to a 2001 National Institutes of Health study. The risk of a heart attack had a ten percent increase on the following Monday and Tuesday after the clocks moved one hour ahead. Besides the physical effects, losing sleep equates to lower productivity and focus (and probably more mindless social-media scrolling).
With that said, adjusting to daylight saving time doesn't require complex tactics and strategies. In fact, using these four simple habits will not only help you adjust to the new time, but you'll also approach the next week and beyond with more energy.
1. Keep the same sleep scheduled.
If you normally wake up at 7 a.m., stick to waking up at the same time on Sunday and don't take an afternoon nap. On Sunday, you're losing sleep, but by doing this, you'll make it easier to fall asleep on Sunday night due to being fatigued from the day.
Stacking these key habits up on Sunday allows you to wake up Monday morning ready to perform at a high level both emotionally and cognitively.
2. Expose yourself to morning light.
While excessive light at night should be avoided, exposure to light in the morning is your best friend. It helps calibrate your circadian rhythm to its proper sleep-wake cycle and releases cortisol, which increases your ability to be alert and present for the workday.
3. Exercise earlier in the day.
One of the easiest fixes when working with clients who aren't consistent with exercise or have trouble sleeping is to have them exercise earlier in the day. Morning workouts benefit your productivity, cognition, mood, and serve as a way to instill more discipline into your life, which positively seeps into other areas of your life.
A research study at Appalachian State University compared three exercise groups by assigning them different training times. One group was at 7 a.m., one at 1 p.m., and the last at 7 p.m. The morning group slept the longest and had the most beneficial sleep cycles (i.e. the highest quality of sleep).
If you can't exercise earlier in the day, all is not lost, just make sure to exercise two to three hours before bedtime.
4. Stick to a nighttime routine.
Nighttime habits prime your mind, body, and emotions for a productive tomorrow while simultaneously slowing your mind and body down to allow for quality sleep. My nighttime routine generally starts around 90 minutes from my designated bedtime but 60 minutes is more than plenty.
Nothing fancy is needed, simple sleep hygiene tips such as taking a hot bath (or shower), decreasing exposure to blue lights, wearing eye masks, journaling to calm your mind, and reading a book (preferably non-business and motivational) will suffice.
Even though time is changing, that doesn't mean you have to wake up Monday morning groggy and operating in a lower state. Implement these four above tips and not only will your Monday be productive, but each day afterward will be of the same high standard.