Dr. Rebecca Robbins is a researcher whose work examines the link between sleep and performance as well as strategies for optimal rest and recovery. This year, she is partnering with Beautyrest to put a renewed focus on sleep performance—noting the importance of how high-quality sleep can give everyone an edge to perform more effectively throughout their day and in their waking life.
More than 25 countries across the globe practice daylight saving time. Daylight saving refers to the practice of changing our sleep and work schedules to allow for a rising time one hour later in the fall/winter months (also known as “Fall Back” on November 5) and one hour earlier in the spring/summer months (also known as “Spring Forward” on March 11).
Daylight saving came about because daylight hours change due to seasonal variation in the Earth’s axial tilt. Regions that are north and south of the tropics experience longer daylight in summer months, and shorter daylight in winter months. It was also key around the turn of the century – when agriculture was a primary focus of the global economy, the practice capitalized on daylight starting earlier in the summer months.
Although it may seem like one hour change is not significant, we see approximately an eight percent increase in traffic accidents in the spring with the loss of one hour of sleep. In research among employees, results show that employees spend on average over an hour longer “surfing” the web (instead of working) in the week after daylight saving times. Thus, even a small change of one hour can have a significant impact on our ability to get restful sleep and perform at our peak after daylight saving.
Although it is easier to transition in the fall as we receive an extra hour of light (compared to the spring when one hour is lost), here are a few suggestions to transition smoothly this fall.
1. Refine your bedtime ritual.
Making time, even just 15-20 minutes before bed, to relax and unwind can help you ease into deep sleep. Have a great bedtime ritual? Looking for a way to better quiet your mind? Start tonight and practice relaxation rituals, like reading a book or taking a warm shower before bed. A sleep monitoring device such as the Beautyrest® Sleeptracker® monitor is a perfect tool to keep tabs on your routine and learn how to continually adjust your habits accordingly.
2. Make note of your caffeine and alcohol consumption.
Keep coffee or caffeine at a minimum and try to avoid alcohol the weekend leading up to daylight saving or “Fall Back.”
3. Make exercise a priority.
Make exercise a priority and ensure you are performing your best throughout the day with equipment for high-performance sleep, such as the Beautyrest Black® Hybrid Plus mattress. In these transition periods, exercise can be a great way to stay on track.
Ideally, exercise should be between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, but research shows any exercise can help improve sleep quality. Knowing this transition time is coming up, take the initiative to schedule your favorite workout class with a friend. I know when I make workout plans with friends I am more inclined to go since I am held accountable!
4. Get natural sunlight exposure.
Again, particularly during transition periods, make sure to get natural light exposure as much as you can. Go outside when you wake up and again in the afternoon. Even when it is overcast, going outside for fresh air and sunlight can help your body transition with ease.