- Daylight Saving Time starts on March 13, 2022, at 2 a.m. for most of the country. The clocks move forward one hour.
- Because you’ll be losing an hour of sleep, your body might feel a bit off. Taking extra care to get adequate rest (without getting too much) will keep your body feeling normal.
Don’t let the start of Daylight Saving Time put your fitness to sleep when the clocks roll back. When it starts—this year on Sunday, March 13—your clocks will jump forward an hour, causing you to lose an hour of sleep but giving you that evening light for your evening runs and walks.
Losing 60 minutes of shuteye may not seem like much when it comes affecting your fitness, but it can take a toll on your running routine for several days if you don’t make some simple adjustments. Fortunately, you can keep the overall grogginess away, and train yourself to stay on a consistent sleep schedule, with some prep and some extra motivation.
Just follow these five tips to keep your training on track.
1. Go for a run the night before
A good night’s rest during this weekend is vital for your body’s clock to transition to the new weekday schedule. For starters, go for a run on Saturday because exercise will significantly improve your snooze quality. Michael Breus, Ph.D., a runner and sleep specialist also recommends reducing your alcohol and caffeine consumption this weekend.
“Alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep,” he says. “Calm your caffeine consumption down by 2 p.m. on Saturday—that will help get you into deeper stages of sleep that night.”
2. Adjust your sleep schedule
For a few days before Daylight Saving Time begins, go to bed and wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier than normal, suggests the Iowa Clinic Sleep Center. This will help your body slowly adjust, rather than throwing your system into shock on Sunday morning by sleeping too late—or not getting enough sleep.
“It takes the circadian clock in the body about a day to get used to the change,” Breus says.
3. You can still run at the same times you normally do...
Stick to your same weekday running schedule. If you normally run at 6:30 a.m., run at that time Monday morning even though it will feel (and appear outside) like it’s 5:30 a.m. for a few days. This will help you transition to the new schedule faster.
Breus does warn that you still may feel a little groggy—and your workouts might feel harder—those first few days following the clock change. “The more sleep deprived a person is, the more perceived exertion they’ll have,” he says. “You will feel like your workout isn’t as good but that might not be true—it just feels that way—so don’t get down on yourself on your run Monday.”
4. ...but you may want to run with the sunrise.
If you feel exceptionally off during those first few morning runs, try to head out when the sun comes up. This is easier when the clock moves back in the fall because you get those early-morning rays. “When light hits the optic nerve, it tells your brain to stop producing melatonin,” Breus says.
That’s important because according to a recent study published in the journal Neuron, your body produces the hormone melatonin to induce sleep. Exposing your body to light will block its production helping you feel more awake.
5. Keep your alarm clock far away from your bed.
This is a simple but effective trick to get you out from under the covers when your internal clock isn’t fully adjusted, Breus says. You might be on your normal schedule (which means waking up an hour early), or you might have trouble adjusting to your new sleep schedule. “The key is to just get up and out the door. If you do that, after a few days your schedule will go right back to feeling normal, he says.