While many people look forward to the extra hour of sleep when we “fall back,” keeping a positive attitude can be difficult in the groggy days after we “spring forward.” It might seem tempting to sleep in and skip your Monday morning workout, but disturbing your regular routine might make the adjustment more difficult. So unless you’re competing the Racing For Daylight Ultramarathon—an all-night ultra event the night before daylight saving time where folks can run/walk/bike for as long as they want—we suggest following a few of our favorite tips to keep your fitness on track as the clocks jump forward.
Wake up earlier in the days before daylight saving time
Instead of trying to adjust in one big leap, it’s best to gradually wake up earlier in the days leading up to daylight saving time. For example, you could wake up 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday to prepare for your Monday morning workout. Or go to bed 30 minutes earlier Saturday night and sleep in 30 minutes later on Sunday morning. However you break it down, be sure to plan to get the usual 7-8 hours of sleep each night to keep your fitness motivation intact and performance high.
Reduce caffeine and avoid alcohol
It can be tempting to reach for the coffee to fuel your weekend fun or have that third glass of wine at that Saturday night soiree. However, caffeine—especially if ingested in the afternoon—can make it very difficult to fall asleep at night. Alcohol might make you feel drowsy, but it only keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep—so you’ll be less rested in the morning. Opt for herbal tea in the afternoon and soda water at the party to ensure that caffeine and alcohol don’t disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise is a fantastic way to help you fall and stay asleep. Aerobic exercise such as running or brisk walking can improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. Strength training can lower the instances of waking up in the middle of the night. And yoga can help relax the nervous system and calm the body in preparation for early sleep. The good news is that daylight saving time means more sunlight after work—which can help motivate you to enjoy the outdoors while exercising. So while it might be tempting to trade in that workout for an extra hour of sleep, evidence shows that exercise might be the very ticket to helping you adjust more quickly to the time shift.
Stick to your normal routine
If you normally strength train on Saturday, do yoga on Sunday, and run on Monday, chances are you will have an easier time adjusting to the time shift if you stick as closely to your routine as possible. As mentioned above, shifting your patterns 10-30 minutes a day to help you prepare for the hour jump is recommended. But major diversions—such as skipping workouts, sleeping in late, or long afternoon naps—are not. And while getting out of bed at 6am for a jog (when it feels like 5am) might not seem appealing, the more you stick to your usual routine, the faster you will adapt.
If you’re tempted to hit the snooze button this Sunday or Monday, our tips can help you wake up on time refreshed and ready to get fit. For more tips on how to adjust to daylight saving time, take our featured quiz.