My older son Jonas just started a new school for 5th grade, and my wife and I have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal. You’d think 30 minutes isn’t that much earlier, but considering the fact that we’re more tired despite going to bed 30 minutes earlier, only reinforces recent findings that total sleep length is important, but that even a minor time shift in your sleep clock can have a significant effect on how you feel during the day. I’m sure that in a few more days, we’ll be well adjusted, but this brings up how much frequent air travel and time zone changes can stress our bodies.
This is why it’s important to make an effort to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. In most situations, it more important to wake up at the same time every morning, every day of the week. Many people make up for lack of sleep during the week by sleeping in on the weekends, but what you’re doing here is shifting time zones. If you’re really tired when you wake up on the weekends, try exercising first thing in the morning (to get sunlight into your eyes) and taking a short nap in the afternoon.
It seems like these time zone changes are beginning to affect me more and more as I get older. How about you? Do time zone changes affect your energy and level of awakening more now than when you were younger?