It’s that time of the year again, Daylight Saving Time! We have now adjusted our clocks to officially “spring forward.” The time change can impact our day to day lives in various ways. To go even further, it can impact our performance within training as well. There are pros and cons to the time change this time of year. Common variables we tend to gravitate towards are sunlight and sleep. Having more sunlight in our day is typically seen as a positive aspect, because our days feel longer, and we feel as though we have more time to accomplish things.
When thinking about a performance perspective, you may think, “Great! I have a lot more time in the day to train and increase my performance now that the days feel longer.” Before you can dive in and begin increasing your training volume, one important aspect that needs to be addressed is your sleep.
When we “spring forward” with the time change, we end up losing an hour of sleep. This transition typically affects us because our mornings are darker and daylight trickles into the evenings. When this occurs, we experience a delay in our sleep-wake cycle which ultimately results in feeling more tired in the mornings and more awake in the evenings.1 With that being said, most people deal with sleep deprivation during this time. In relation to performance, research has shown that a lack of sleep can negatively affect performance and present a decrease in health.2 It should be noted that most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. It has been suggested that athletes need comparably more sleep than non-athletes to warrant sufficient physiological and psychological recovery from training.2
Due to the impact that a lack of sleep can have on us, try utilizing one of the strategies below.
Achieve Sufficient Sleep Duration
Track sleep for 2 weeks and gradually increase your sleep duration by 15 minutes every few nights until you feel rested and alert during the day.2 If it is necessary, adding in regular naps can also help in gaining sufficient sleep duration.2
Using your COROS watch is one way you can track your sleep to help assess this aspect. When you wear your watch, it will begin checking if you’re asleep one hour before the sleep start time. If you fall asleep 30 minutes prior to the sleep start time, the sleep tracking will start 30 minutes before. Your COROS watch will continue tracking your sleep even if you take bathroom breaks within the first 6 hours from the time when the watch detects that you are asleep. You will be able to assess each night and compare them in order to get an idea of how much sleep you are actually getting.
Maintain Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep environments are very important when trying to get a sufficient amount of sleep. Typically, the ideal room is cool, dark, and comfortable.2 It can also be helpful to reduce the amount of time you use electronics before bed and also being mindful of caffeine and alcohol intake in the evening.2
Assess Impact of Improved Sleep on Performance
It can be beneficial to assess your performance before and after you implement these strategies.2 Assessing your performance 2-4 weeks after implementing the sleep strategies would be most beneficial.2
Daylight Saving Time can make a large impact on our day to day lives and our athletic performance. Having more sunlight in our day can be a large benefit, however the affect it has on our sleep isn’t. Before we can consider increasing our training volume, it is crucial to assess your sleep to make sure you are getting a sufficient amount. Try using the strategies we discussed in order to accomplish this!
- Pacheco D. Daylight Saving Time. Sleep Foundation Updated November 5, 2021. Accessed March 13, 2022. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm/daylight-saving-time.
- Simpson NS, Gibbs EL, Matheson GO. Optimizing sleep to maximize performance: implications and recommendations for elite athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2017;27(3):266-274.