How To Feel Great When The Clocks Go Forward
Every year on the last Sunday in March, our clocks go forward and we’re cruelly robbed of an hour’s sleep. The aim is to make better use of the sunlight (to give us an hour more of daylight in the morning, in this case). It may sound like a small price to pay for more sunshine, but according to sleep expert Dr Guy Meadows, we’re right to mourn the loss of those precious 60 minutes in bed.
Why do I feel so cheated?
Moving our clocks forwards or backwards causes our internal clock to become out of sync with our current day and night cycle. Our bodies have to work to reset our internal 24-hour clock.
As you’d expect, losing an hour’s sleep in spring is more difficult to adjust to than when we gain an hour in the autumn, as we find it difficult to wake up earlier than we have been doing for the previous five months. Plus, disturbed sleep patterns can make people restless at night and sleepier the next day.
How can I help myself adjust?
Try Dy Guy’s three easy tips to get your body and mind on side with the clock change…
1. Change your bedtime
Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier for the three days before the clocks go forward, so that getting up an hour earlier on Monday morning isn’t as difficult. If you can, go to bed earlier on these days, too – it will help you adjust to your new routine before the working week begins. For young children, it might be helpful to move daytime naps, meals, baths and books. If you don’t manage to modify your routine three days earlier, go to sleep an hour earlier than normal the night before. Make sure that you get the recommended seven to eight hours’ rest.
2. Stay active
While a nap might seem like the perfect way to recharge your energy levels, it will only confuse your body clock further. You’ll adjust quicker if you keep active and awake.
3. Choose healthy food
A lack of sleep affects your concentration. It’s tempting to eat sugary snacks to compensate for your lack of energy – especially if you’re sat at a desk all day – quick sugar fixes will only boost your energy short term. Instead, eating healthy food will help you feel more energised and refreshed.
It’s not all bad…
If you don’t throw back your curtains full of joy after the clock change, these facts about daylight saving time (DST) might cheer you up…
• Longer evenings mean less traffic accidents, as visibility at rush hour is improved
• All the late-evening sun stops us switching the lights on so early, which means lower energy bills
• Crime levels reduce as we say goodbye to the darker days that burglars love
• More daylight tends to improve people’s moods, especially those prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Waking up more tired than when you went to bed? We gave three bloggers sleep trackers to find out what’s really going on when the lights go out.