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As entrepreneurs, most of us have traveled across time zones and do so regularly for both work and leisure. And do we complain? So even though we know it will happen, why do many of us complain every year when the clock jumps forward an hour for daylight saving time (DST)?
I encourage you to take a different approach this year. First, the most important thing you can do is to change your attitude towards the forward clocks. Here’s how: mentally prepare yourself in advance and tell yourself and those around you that DST is nothing to complain about because we face it every year. We better prepare for it and find the silver linings and benefits of the time change.
For example, more daylight in the evening allows for after-dinner walks. Such a walk promotes family time, lowers your blood glucose levels and is likely to act as a deterrent to excessive evening snacking or drinking. Is that a win or a win?
I remember weekday mornings from earlier DST days when everyone in my house was slow moving and no one jumped forward except the clock. Friends called me to talk about their double dose of caffeine and how they yelled at their kids more to drive them out the door to school.
Research shows more car accidents and workplace injuries after DST as our already sleep-deprived country is less alert. So while we will still feel the time changing due to our circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that is dictated by our body’s internal clock, below are some tips that should help make DST more manageable and help you better prepare not to fall back when the clock jumps forward.
Related: How Daylight Saving Time Affects Productivity
1. Prepare gradually with an earlier bedtime
You may not feel tired at night, but try to go to bed earlier before daylight savings time. By making these changes moderately before the time change, daylight saving time begins to almost adjust to the time change.
From exercise to meals to your bedtime routine, push everything forward by 15 minutes each day. Be especially disciplined at night by washing your face, brushing your teeth, getting off screens, or whatever sleep routine you have earlier than usual.
2. Don’t snooze, rather wake up 15 minutes earlier
I’ve never used the snooze button. I find it torture and not efficient or motivating for the morning routine you planned to do, so I mentally trained myself never to snooze. Now for you snoozers, you can call me crazy, but give yourself some wiggle room during the week of DST for morning time. Most of us adjusting to the time change will be slow and rushing will lead to a stressful morning, so use the extra time to prevent this rushed and chaotic feeling.
The same goes for getting kids ready for school. Time is precious and the extra time will make the morning less hectic. Please do not “snooze” as this will prevent your circadian rhythm from adjusting to the time change.
Related: Stop hitting the snooze button and start intentionally building your life and business
3. Prioritize daylight exposure
Get out in the sun early, within an hour of waking if you can, even if you’re stepping outside for a 5-minute gratitude exercise, walking the dog, or looking at the daylight while taking a deep breath. Light is the central driver of our circadian rhythm, and this morning’s sunlight alone will help your body’s internal clock best adjust to the new timing of light and dark.
I’m not a biohacker, but I keep up to date with the latest research and science in health and wellness, and I encourage you to check it out this guide from Professor of Neuroscience at Stanford, Dr. Andrew Huberman. Even on a cloudy day, natural light provides more brightness that helps to align the circadian rhythm than artificial indoor lighting.
Related: 6 Benefits of Detaching Yourself from Your Desk to Take a Break Outside
4. Stay active and keep moving
Personally, I look forward to and need my morning workouts because they get my body, brain and soul moving and kickstart my day. But if early morning exercise isn’t your thing, plan to get outside or exercise every day this week, even if it’s just a brisk morning or lunch walk (or even a “sweat work” walk) which will energize all parties involved and help everyone to sleep better.
Bonus added? Just 2 to 5 minutes of walking after a meal will help lower your blood glucose levels, according to a 2022 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine.
5. Eat well and go easy on the caffeine
Proper nutrition is directly correlated with sleep. Eliminate added sugars, stay well hydrated with water and electrolytes, and focus on eating good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, such as fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Eat dinner at least a few hours before going to bed and limit spicy and heavy foods.
When my schedule allows, I prefer to eat what I call “linner,” meaning a combined lunch/dinner, and I eat this meal between 3 and 4 p.m. meal, try to make lunch the bigger meal of your day. Watch out for caffeine in drinks, including sodas that are also loaded with sugar.
It is humane and forgivable that most people are doubling or even tripling their coffee and green tea this week to to survive. But don’t overdo it. Too much caffeine will make you crash, so try to stop drinking caffeine after 2 p.m. alcohol can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Related: Does Caffeine Boost or Sabotage Your Productivity?
6. Ask and give yourself some grace
If your boss is flexible, ask if you can come into the office a few days later so you can take your time to get used to the time change and avoid sleep deprivation and frustrated rush hour commuters.
If you lead a team or company, have a little compassion. Offer your team a slightly later start to the morning in exchange for meeting a specific deadline that week or agreeing to get 15-30 minutes of fresh air early in the morning or in the middle of the day. Happy employees = productive employees.
7. Power nap
More and more health and wellness professionals, experts and entrepreneurs are treating themselves to power naps for rejuvenation and mental well-being. The key for a nap is 30 minutes or less; otherwise you’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a bus when you wake up! A nap should calm your nervous system as well as energize you.
Early afternoon naps are best, as naps late in the day can make it difficult to sleep. Not necessary, but if you’re curious about prioritizing a deeper night’s sleep, look into sleep aids like weighted blankets, sleep meditation apps, and light therapy.
With these tips, you should be able to jump forward along with the clocks. As human beings, and especially as entrepreneurs, we are strong and our minds and bodies can adapt. So when the clock jumps forward, shift your mindset to when the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. on Monday morning, and think that it’s 6 AM instead of saying, “I can’t believe it’s really 5 AM!” The better we prepare, the better we position ourselves for positive results and longer, brighter days of sunshine.